The whole world is raging against China, and just like most other countries, India is also trying to ditch Chinese products as much as possible. In one of the recent speeches to the nation, the honorable prime minister of our country also urged the people of the nation to be self-dependent so that, we can emphasize and purchase goods and services that are manufactured and offered by indigenous businesses. This will not only make us self-reliant but it will also strengthen the Indian economy, which isn’t in good health due to the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean, we should boycott Chinese products completely.
If we really want to be self-reliant, we should try depending upon the indigenous goods and services as much as possible and be less dependent on other countries. But, when it comes to using Chinese products, most people have a strong dislike. We all depend upon Chinese products knowingly or unknowingly and there are several issues with specific Chinese products, and that is the reason, why the #BoycottChineseProducts hashtag trending. But, today I will not talk about any political or diplomatic matters when it comes to using Chinese products, but I will he emphasize on whether it is feasible to boycott Chinese products completely, and if it is not possible completely, how much possibility is there when it comes to consumer electronics and other services.
So, without any further delay, let’s get started with, how India is dependent on China and whether India can start manufacturing and offering the same services in India, without depending on China or any other country.
The dependence of India on Chinese gadgets
When it comes to different ways, we depend upon China there is a lot of things to talk about. Most people might think we are mainly dependent on Chinese electronics, that is true to some extent, however, there is also a number of other products and services that we use and they are offered by Chinese companies. When it comes to electronics there are several smartphone manufacturers like Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, OnePlus, Lenovo, which are based in China.
There are several other products, which include everyday-use gadgets that make our life simpler, toys, and dolls for small children, clothes, medicines, dyes, home decor, chemicals, etc. that we import from China as well. As per the data of 2018 from, India depends upon China for more than 14% of the imports and that is not a small number. Finding alternatives for all the products that we import from China is not a feasible idea, as of now.
The problems with Chinese products and services
When the outrage for boycotting Chinese products is at its peak now, especially because of COVID-19, which had its origin in Wuhan city of China, there are certain problems with different products and services that are imported from or are offered China. As it is a tech website, I will keep my story mostly limited to consumer technology in this story. When it comes to Chinese smartphones, there are several makers, and the problem with Chinese smartphones is that most of them come with ads everywhere. There is no doubt, Chinese smartphones offer very good value for money, but going dirt cheap to offer ads in the UI, and that too, disturbing ads is not something most users will appreciate.
Furthermore, several individual researchers and bloggers also came with pieces of evidence showing that the Chinese smartphones send our private data to the Chinese servers in different ways, and even if you are using the incognito or private mode within the Xiaomi web browser, your data or what you have searched for is not safe, as well. So, there are privacy concerns. Considering everything, when it comes to Chinese electronics, they might offer a very good value for money, but when it comes to privacy policies, there are serious problems.
Even when it comes to Chinese software and apps which are similar to services that we use and all offered by Chinese companies, the privacy policies are not always transparent. Cheetah Mobile that offered several Android apps was always on the news for several issues laden with privacy. As per the Chinese government policies, the companies are liable to share all types of data with the government, including sensitive user data, on-demand. Thus, if you are using a Chinese app, and you provide your personal details to that app, that data can be seen by the Chinese government at any time. So this is yet one more problem with the use of Chinese products and services.
The truth about ‘Made in India’ smartphones and other gadgets
When it comes to smartphones, we often come across smartphones that come with the label ‘Made in India’ on the box, and that makes people of the country feel proud, with the feeling that we have contributed to our Indian economy by purchasing products made in India. But the truth is far from that. When it comes to the manufacturing industry in India, and the components used in smartphones, India is not a hub that manufactures every component that is used in a smartphone.
Instead, the components are brought from different other countries, especially China in the case of Chinese products, and they are assembled in India. That way, the Indians get employment, and we are contributing slightly towards the economy, but the integral amount that we pay for purchasing a Made in India smartphone is sent to other countries, and especially China, as the share of Chinese smartphones in the Indian market is huge.
The picture is the same for most other products, however, it is expected that in the future most major companies will build their manufacturing hubs in India and it is only then, we can truly enjoy Made in India products that will have all the parts and components made and assembled in India. Even when it comes to products that are not made in China like, Samsung and LG products, there are several components, which are manufactured in China. So, boycotting Chinese manufacturing altogether isn’t a judicious idea right now if we want to maintain the lifestyle exactly the way we used to.
So, what’s the option!
When it comes to boycotting Chinese products altogether, there are several things that should be considered before taking any such decision.
If we ditch Chinese products, we will have to depend on the same type of product from a different country, if the same is not manufactured in India. In that situation, the product that we will be purchasing, which is from a different country can be available at a higher price, or the price to performance is not going to be outstanding.
On the other hand, if we purchase something, that is manufactured in India, the same can happen and we might not get the best price to performance ratio. But the fact is that India isn’t still a very big manufacturing hub and we will have to depend on other countries especially China for different non-essential products and services.
But, the issues should be more objective. When it comes to privacy and security, that isn’t something we should compromise on. So, we should stop using the apps and websites that are developed by Chinese developers. That way, we can keep control of our privacy. However, if the privacy policies are more transparent, things might not remain that bad.
In the future, if India would come out to be a massive manufacturing hub, we can go completely Indian, and only purchase products that are manufactured by and for India. However, we will still have to wait for a few more years for that golden time to come. Till then, it is practically impossible to completely boycott Chinese products, considering that more than 14 % of Indian exports are from China.
Furthermore, It is not a fair idea to go against a country completely. We should help other countries, and get help in return. That’s how the world functions. But, at the same time, being Indians, we should also make sure that we are not supporting Indian makers, at the same time. We should at least depend on India for the essential goods and services but cut down on non-essential things from China. We can enjoy Diwali without purchasing Chinese festival lights.
One more step we can actually take now is, we should try to avoid products from China, even if it is offered at cheap rates. When something is offered for cheap, there must be something wrong with it even though, Chinese products are not always bad, when it comes to electronics, there are problems with privacy and ads that I have already mentioned.
To most consumers, if something is offered at cheap rates, it is the best and that is why, until and unless there are alternative products from other countries and from India at cheap rates, that cannot be called true Indian alternative that can outperform Chinese products for the most part.
So, that was all about, whether we can boycott Chinese products completely or not. It is not impossible but hardly possible as of now. Do you have any more points to add? Feel free to comment on the same below.
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