HOW BEIJING REACTED TO INDIA’S MOVE TO BAN CHINESE SMARTPHONES BELOW RS 12,000

The Government of India is considering banning Chinese mobile phones and smartphones under the Rs 12,000 price point. The government hasn’t implemented the ban as of writing this piece, but the news that a ban is being considered has sent shockwaves across several Chinese telecommunication giants.

The main objective behind this proposed ban is to boost Indian phone manufacturers and allow them to recapture some of the market shares they have lost.

Addressing a press conference, the spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, Wang Wenbin, said that the Chinese government had taken note of India’s move.

“I want to stress that the trade and economic cooperation between China and India is mutually beneficial. We urge the Indian side to earnestly fulfill its commitment to openness and cooperation and provide an open, fair, and just. Nondiscriminatory investment and business environment for Chinese companies,” Wenbin told reporters.

According to a Bloomberg report, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said Beijing would “firmly support” Chinese companies defending their lawful interests and rights.

Apart from the impending ban on a specific price point, Chinese mobile companies operating in India, namely Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo, are already under the Indian government’s scanner in cases of tax evasion, money laundering, and other improper business practices.

Last week, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) detected a customs duty evasion of around ₹2,217 crores from Vivo Mobile India Pvt. Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Vivo Communication Technology Co. Ltd.

Citing market tracker Counterpoint, Bloomberg had earlier reported that smartphones under ₹12,000 contributed to a third of India’s sales volume for the quarter through June 2022, with Chinese companies accounting for up to 80 percent of those shipments.

Previously, the government had banned over 300 Chinese apps, including Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat and ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok, due to the strained relations between India and China following the border skirmishes since 2020.

Following that, this year, the government of India also placed BGMI, the India-specific version of the popular game PUBG-mobile, under a virtual ban by removing it from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.

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