Shouts to Ban the Chinese Products are growing across the globe. But can we afford to do it? Let’s explore if we can, and will it be prudent to do so?
Why People Want Governments To Ban Chinese Products?
People are angry about the cover-up of the CoronaVirus by the Chinese government. For not being transparent about the information, Human rights violation, and muting the whistleblowers.
China stopped the spread of the Virus in their own country by sealing the epicenter (Wuhan). But they never stopped International flights from Wuhan to prevent the global spread even knowing that the virus can spread from person to person and is an airborne disease.
The brunt of anger is faced by Global Chinese companies for the deeds of CCP (Chinese Communist Party).
#BanChineseGoods – There are people supporting this movement and also opposing it.
But the movement is not thought or planned, it is a knee jerk reaction to the CoronaVirus pandemic.
There are a huge number of Chinese hardware and software companies that have come under fire from the supporters of the movement.
Undeniably, Chinese people are hardworking, tenacious, and adaptable; and they have created some world-class companies, products, and services. The problem has been the CCP for which there is a lot of criticism even inside China.
Also, why we shouldn’t blame our governments that have not timely helped grow and protect the local manufacturing.
There are several reasons why people want to ban Chinese products – one of the biggest is to help boost local manufacturing and enable native companies to make money and provide employment. Besides, there is no point, making the Chinese government rich and powerful.
Why Indians Want the Government To Ban Chinese Products?
For India, there are several reasons to hate China – they have killed the local manufacturing. Everything Indians are currently buying comes from China. It’s making the nation dependent, and in turn, empowering CCP.
Another major reason is China helps Pakistan at every global forum and takes a stand against India. It supplies arms, ammunition, technology, machinery and offers financial aid to keep the pressure on India. Consequently, it is fueling the war in Kashmir and the death of Indian soldiers and citizens.
Moreover, there have been several stand-offs between India and China at the border.
Further, China supported Pakistan on the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir at the UNSC. To oppose the move, the trader’s body of India, CAIT has called for the boycott of Chinese products and revision of import duty to 500%.
Additionally, China has been stonewalling India at the UN to become a permanent member for years. Also previously, China has opposed India’s appeal in the UN to ban Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar. There are several other reasons that make a lot of Indian nationals dislike China.
Why People Buy Made in China Products
On the other hand, Chinese products are cheap and offer a lot of value for the money. Indians are bargain hunters and the Chinese products are a perfect fit for most low-income buyers. Nearly, 70% of the phones sold in India are from Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Realme, Oneplus, Poco, etc.
To make matters worst, Chinese companies are also accused of gathering user information and spying on people
Can We Trust Chinese Tech Products? Are they Safe?
There was a recent article that was published in Forbes. The article accuses Xiaomi of spying on its users. It is titled “Exclusive: Warning Over Chinese Mobile Giant Xiaomi Recording Millions Of People’s ‘Private’ Web And Phone Use”
The article raises several concerns about the user privacy of Xiaomi smartphones and how the company is sending data back to China.
It goes on to say that Xiaomi tracks which websites the user is visiting, search queries (things you type in Google search), items viewed on Xiaomi’s news feed. All of this is tracked even when you are in “incognito” (private) mode.
Further, this data is not anonymous and can be attributed to a user. Typically, the tracking by major tech giants like Google and Apple ensures that the data is anonymous and used to better the user experience.
Nevertheless, Xiaomi India CEO, Mr. Manu Kumar Jain has ridiculed the report by calling it fake news.
The problem is Andrew Tierney the security consultant who did the analysis for Forbes has got it on video showing how Xiaomi tracks data. It is hard evidence and difficult to refute.
Anti-China Sentiment on the Rise: Manu Kumar Jain
Later on, Xiaomi has issued a software update that gives a toggle option to stop this data transfer.
Manu Kumar Jain, recently said that there is an anti-China sentiment on Social media but Xiaomi India will not be impacted by it.Manu Kumar Jain
Huawei Ban By the US
The US has previously banned Chinese Company Huawei for spying and sending data back to China.
Moreover, US President Donald Trump has recently said that he has come across information that the Virus originated in China and has been attacking WHO and China incessantly.
I don’t think so, the US would like to have an all-out trade war with China but will keep the guerilla war on.
They have restricted Huawei to use Google Os and Apps. Can they do it to Xiaomi and other Chinese manufacturers? Probably Google may do an investigation to see if the Xiaomi browser is actually doing something wrong.
Proposed Ban on TikTok
In addition to the above, the US may ban the famous video App TikTok on government work phones citing security concerns.
Sen. Josh Hawley said, “As many of our federal agencies have already recognized, TikTok is a major security risk to the United States, and it has no place on government devices.”
Bytedance, the developer for TikTok has been successfully able to capture a huge market in India in the last 2 years. There are over 1 Billion global users for the App.
However, there is a surge in voices to ban or boycott Chinese products, it is nearly impossible to ban them.
Let’s explore Why we can’t ban Chinese products?
Can We Ban Chinese Products in India?
It is not prudent, viable and currently possible without severe consequences.
For India, China is the fourth largest export destination and the biggest import destination. Undoubtedly, China is the biggest trade partner of India and it is not possible for the Indian government to ban Chinese Products in India.
Chinese exports to India are close to $70 billion and China imports about $17 billion of goods from India. The major commodities imported by India are:
- Electronic Equipment (Gadgets, Phones, etc)
- Industrial Machines, engines, pumps
- Chemicals and Fertilizers
- Iron, steel, Plastics
- Gems, precious metals
- Ships, boats
- Medical, technical equipment
However, boycotting products is in the hands of people.
If people have good alternate choices from local manufacturers, at competitive rates, only then there is going to be any impact. Otherwise, it’s going to be the status quo.
Also, even if a hypothetical ban is put on Chinese products it will be detrimental for the Indian economy. The cost of goods will rise and, resultantly, it will increase inflation. It can have a negative impact on consumer spending and increase the risk of economic depression.
India needs to build its ecosystem and provide global investors the right environment, ease of doing business, less red-tape, and infrastructure to boost local manufacturing and IT.
Banning Chinese products is not going to help. However, strengthening the “Make in India” initiative to serve the global consumers will go a long way.
India has a huge opportunity for attracting IT projects, gaming development, and large scale Apps and software development due to the presence of a large talent pool.
The growing voices to move the manufacturing away from China can help India if the government and local businesses help global MNC’s set production units in India.
As the global industries are looking for a new destination to move the investment out of China, India can play a crucial role.
Even Mahatma Gandhi started the Swadeshi Movement to economically weaken British rule. The growing influence and power of CCP has threatened the world and probably deep down world leaders want a balancing act.
Can US/Other Countries Ban Chinese Products?
US President Donald Trump is furious with China for the spread of CoronaVirus and lack of transparency. He has already said that the US is looking for more trade tariffs to punish China for the wrongdoing.
Further, the US has a huge reliance on China for imports. The total trade between the two nations was 737.1 Billion Dollars in 2018 (Source). The US imports 558 billion dollars of services and goods from China and exports 179 Billion Dollars of goods and services. This is huge even with comparison to India.
Major US companies like Apple manufacture all products in China due to lower operational costs and have made huge investments in the country.
Considering, the above it is not likely the US can ban trade with China but there will be consequences for the Coronavirus.
Other major countries such as Japan, Australia, and Germany are also furious with China and may like to reduce the dependence on Chinese trade in the future months and years.
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