BENGALURU: With various appeals doing the rounds on the social media, urging Indians to boycott using Chinese goods and apps, the issue has snowballed into a sort of campaign. After Ladakh-based educationist and innovator Sonam Wangchuk released a video recently, saying he is soon going to give up using all Chinese products, the ripples have reached Bengaluru too.
For Kiran Kumar, who has been living with this philosophy already, the call has renewed his conviction. “I have been having issues with China because they have always tried to change the geography of India. I don’t want to contribute to their economy by buying their products,” says the 44-year-old mechanical engineer who consciously tries to avoid made-in-China toys for his children.
Kumar was an avid Paytm app user but removed the app when he got to know about a Chinese firm’s investment in it. He, however, clarifies that he is not completely dismissive of all the Chinese companies, since some of them have invested in setting up production centres in India and are providing direct and indirect employment to Indians. “Even Narendra Modi’s speech on being ‘artmanirbhar’ speaks about the same,” he explains.
While the sentiment may be shared by a large number of people, implementation is the tough part, says Shivaramakrishnan M, a private wealth management consultant in the city. “The biggest issue is that when people can’t find any substitutes for Chinese products. Indian firms need to make products that are high in quality, cost effective and affordable to break the Chinese stronghold over the Indian market. The Indian market is huge enough from a consumption stand point,” says Shivaramakrishnan, who does agree that phasing out of Chinese products has started and may proceed in a phased manner. “If things go this way, we may see most Chinese products replaced by Indian brands or MNC brands made in India in about three years,” he adds.
The dent in sale of Chinese products is apparent in the market, according to electronics stores. Shamsundar, the owner of Sun Time in Jayanagar, says, “Brands like Samsung and LG are doing well, but demand for Chinese brands like Oppo has come down drastically. However, Mi and Vivo are seeing some takers, since they have their manufacturing units in India,” says Shamsundar. Even the call to uninstall Chinese apps from phones is finding ready takers. Manpreet Kaur, a software engineer, was one of the 5 million people who downloaded the ‘Remove China Apps, which was recently removed from Google Play Store. “My phone had TikTok, BeautyPlus, etc. Though I knew these apps come from China I never paid much attention to it. After deleting them, I feel so good now,” says Kaur, who admits that while her phone is a Chinese brand, she is planning to replace it soon.