Call to boycott Chinese goods gets louder; 71% of Indians boycotted Chinese goods this Diwali

Since May, when news about Chinese incursions into eastern Ladakh started coming up, there were calls from various quarters to enforce an economic blockade on Chinese trade, goods, and industrial engagement. They initially originated from several motley groups and individuals, including the Ladakh-based innovator and entrepreneur Sonam Wangchuk, who came up with the #BoycottMadeinChina hashtag on Twitter. However, since the second week of June, after the Chinese army killed 20 Indian soldiers at Galwan Valley, the campaign has gathered greater momentum also People are angry about the cover-up of CoronaVirus by the Chinese Government For not being transparent about the information, as it leads to Human rights violation, and muting the whistleblowers. 

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Since China is India’s largest source of imports by some distance. In 2018-’19, India imported goods worth $88 billion from China (including Hong Kong). This was more than 17% of India’s total imports but by seeing the repercussions of the call to boycott China from various quarters; Indian consumers have mostly sidestepped from purchasing China-made products this festive season. According to a LocalCircles survey, 71% of local consumers did not purchase goods that carried a ‘Made in China’ tag. Hence this movement will provide boost towards local manufacturing and enable native companies to make money and provide employment.

The survey conducted by the community social media platform among 14,000 Indian consumers spread over 204 districts shows that only 29 percent of consumers purchased one or more China-made products. Of these, 11 percent were unaware while purchasing them, while 16 percent were informed, buyers.

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China-made products from smartphones and electrical components to home décor items gained traction here since the mid-2000s when they flooded the markets with their cheaper alternatives. 

Among consumers who purchased Chinese goods this Diwali, 75% said they preferred China-made ones as they offered value-for-money and were superior in terms of quality and/or uniqueness when compared to locally made goods.

The tectonic shift towards locally made products has also been registered by traders. According to the country’s leading industry body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the estimated loss to Chinese manufacturers this Diwali could be as high as Rs 40,000 crore. Subsequently, CAIT said, Country is all set to achieve our target of reducing imports from China to the tune of Rs 1 trillion by December 2021.

According to most consumers, products by Indian manufacturers like light-emitting diode bulbs, candles, plastic are generally more expensive and wanting in quality. This may have pushed them towards cheaper Chinese alternatives. Similarly, for products like mobile handsets, air purifiers, gadgets, and home appliances, consumers have reported China-made products to be equal or better in quality. Hence the “monitoring, surveillance and enforcement of the trade remedies and other trade rules in the country requires more attention”. The government needs to work in this direction with more urgency and alarm.”

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