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Boycott ‘Made in China’ Products?

It is been almost a month since #BoycottChineseproducts and similar hashtags are trending. But is there any associated impact on china so far, and is it actually practical?

Boycott Made In China

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In the wake of violent clashes between India- China troops on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the calls for ‘Boycott Chinese Products’ has seen an increasing trend. The move was triggered over a month back when PM Narendra Modi urged citizens to prefer domestic goods and soon it was followed by the ‘Atma Nirbhar Stimulus Package’ An initiative towards becoming a self-reliant economy. It gave the country a message to boycott imported products. However, the movement saw wide participation when Sonam Wangchuk’s video went viral.

Another reason which calls to boycott Chinese products is due to the China-originated virus ‘Covid-19’ — that has affected over 8.5 lakh people so far. Since then, the world has started to witness hatred for China over its non-cooperation in investigation and hiding of evidences. Some are even claiming it to be a Chinese ‘manufactured’ virus.

Sonam Wangchuk’s Appeal

Sonam Wangchuk on Boycott Chinease Products
Image Credit: The Tribune India

Sonam Wangchuk an Engineer, Innovator and Education Reformist released a video on social media almost a month ago, which was largely shared and supported by Indian citizens. The video came after clash between India and China began at the Ladakh side of LAC. 

In the viral video, Wangchuk stated how we Indians buy Chinese products and this money is used to fund violence against Indians at the border. He urged all the Indians, residing in or out of India, to join the boycott China movement and replace both Chinese hardware and software with domestically – produced goods.  For software that is the applications like TikTok, SHAREit asked for a week time, and one month for hardware or the physical goods imported, as it may take time to make substitutes available. His message was clear and effective: To attack China with wallet and not just bullet. 

Watch His Video Here:

Due to the above reasons, social media has been flooded with posts with the following hashtags: #BoycottChineseProducts #BoycottChinese, #BoycottChina, #ChinaGetOut #IndiaChinaFaceOff, #IndiaChinaBorder, #WorldWar3

Although, the ‘boycott Chinese products’ campaign is seeing great support by citizens, it has faced criticisms from many experts calling it an irrational or unpragmatic move. Is it? Let us find out below.

Why To Boycott ‘made in China’ 

Made in China
Image Credit: Daily Times
  1. 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives during the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh.
  1. China doesn’t peacefully resolve border issues and wants to keep it alive.
  1. China backs Pakistan by funding it, which in turn supports terrorism and kill Indian soldiers.
  1. China is the origin of covid-19. Its negligence in handling the virus, which has affected over 8.5 lakh lives, including around 4 lakh Indians by now cannot be ignored.
  1. Chinese products are usually poor in quality and thus unreliable. For example, faulty rapid kits were delivered to India by China amid covid-19 transmission. 
  1. Support PM’s ‘Vocal for Local’ call and support Indian manufacturers. 
  1. Post covid-19, Indian economy requires a boost for revival. Since the world is on one side and china on another, it is likely that companies leave China and enter Indian market, thus giving Indians an opportunity to lead the economy. 

Impact of #BoycottMadeInChina

 Although it is just a month since Boycott ‘Made in China’ is trending, it has witnessed great pressure on China and the exerted pressure can be seen in its speech as well as actions. 

  1. We have seen increasing tensions on the border as well as violence clashes between the troops, which is likely the impacted by #boycottchineseproducts movement.
  1. Certain applications that were made to scan and uninstall Chinese applications were deleted by play store and other app stores that reflect on the pressure being built by China on authorities.
  1. Due to increasing Anti-China sentiments, China’s Oppo cancelled the live online launch of its flagship smartphone in India on Wednesday. 
  1. The campaign in itself is fostering the development on supporting Indian manufacturers and brands among Indian nationals.
  1. According to Sonam Wangchuk, the campaign isn’t just limited to India, it has also seen an impact in other parts of the world including Australia. 

Why Is It Impractical to Boycott Chinese Products?

  1. India imports massive amount of consumer goods (approx. 14%) from China. These include electronic goods, smartphones, toys, industrial goods, automobile, solar cells and pharmaceutical products among others.  
  1. China’s exports to India accounts for just 2% of its total exports, thus even if Indians boycott 100% Chinese products, it won’t affect China much. 
  1. Chinese goods are innovative and much ahead in terms of technological advancement and features.
  1. Products imported from China are much cheaper than domestically produced ones, thus attracting more demand.
  1. China dominates over 70% smartphone market in India. And out of the top 5 most selling brands, 4 are Chinese. These are: Realme, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo.
  1. The raw material or inputs for almost all of our daily requirements are imported from China. Material for pharmaceuticals, electrical machine, machine for dairy and what not.
  1. India’s manufacturing capacity is much lesser than that of China. For Instance, 90% of India’s solar power requirements are met by imports from China as it can’t be produced domestically and alternative options are expensive.
  1. Certain influential groups of China, for example Alibaba has invested in a number of renowned Indian start-ups and companies, which are Paytm Mall, Xpressbees, Snapdeal, Big Basket, Zomato among others. Tencent also has strategic eqity investments in Flipkart, Swiggy, Practo and Gaana. Majority of Indians aren’t aware of it. Even if you boycott these, the loss will be beared by Indian companies. As, the benefit of Chinese investments are reaped by Indian entrepreneurs.
  1. It isn’t just about goods, Chinese apps have covered Indian market too. TikTok, which is the most popular video application in India is also China-owned. And most youngsters aren’t likely to give-up their likes and followers.
  1. Without the availability of Alternate or substitute, boycotting Chinese products mean hitting Indians who have already invested in Chinese goods and fail to sell it now. 

Possible Solutions

Chinese goods are so entrenched into our daily lives that it is almost impossible to boycott them, at least in the present times. Also, the move be rational instead of emotional. Boycotting Chinese products can directly affect out exports to China, which accounts to around 8%.

 So, following are some possible solutions with which we can reduce its usage.

  1. Competition with Chinese companies is a better option than boycotting them. This is the perfect time when manufacturers can take advantage of #boycottmadeinchina to beat Chinese products in the near future and naturally attract demand.
  1. Efficient technology and methods should be used to improve the domestically-produced products. 
  1. Stores can separately identify Chinese goods by making a different section for it. By this, people who really want to boycott can do it with timely identification and choose to shop Indian.
  1. Government can impose anti-dumping duty on cheap Chinese products mainly electronic items and toys.
  1. Instead of boycotting Chinese goods, tensions should be resolved peacefully and focus should be on giving more opportunities to Indian market, with easier laws of production and operation.
  1. Negotiation with Beijing to open China’s market more for Indian finished goods can help raise our exports. 

Final Note

Even before the ‘boycott made in China’ movement began, India has become the second largest producer of PPE kits in just two months. It shows the potential of India in terms of producing both quantity as well as quality. Thus, Indian investors and producers should definitely explore the opportunities to make India self-reliant and we shall succeed in it in the near future. However, we should give the economy some time to adapt to the taste of Indians. Boycotting now can lead to more of negative effects that positive. 

And remember it is more easily said than done. 

So, do you support #BoycottMadeInChina products or do you feel like it is not practically in the favour of our country? Do let us know in the comment section. 

Disclaimer: Ideas expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the organisation’s view.

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