Indian demand for Chinese LED lights remains strong

By GT staff reporters Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/12 18:30:32

People shop for decorative items at a market for the Diwali festival in Bhopal, India, on October 23. Photo: IC

Despite calls for LED lights localization by Indian officials ahead of the country's Diwali festival, Chinese exporters continue to gain market recognition by outcompeting Indian ones in quality, service and price. Some Chinese suppliers have worked overtime to meet rising demand from India months before the festival.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged people to celebrate the festival with locally made products to boost the local economy, according to the Indian Express on Tuesday.

His call did not stop Indian traders and consumers from buying Chinese-made LED lights, and some suppliers in China are even busier than before with growing orders from India.

A sales manager surnamed Wang at an electronics factory based in South China's Guangdong Province told the Global Times on Thursday the factory has been operating at full capacity since early October to fill orders for the festival.

"We have received export orders involving tens of millions of units, including from India. Our automated production lines allow us to make up to 100,000 LED lights per day. That's not enough to fill the orders, so we are expanding our production lines," said Wang. 

He said mass production keeps costs low, although he did not give details.

Wang's factory mostly makes LED lights for traffic signals, light switches and decorations, with one-third of the products for export markets. Although the pandemic did reduce volume, shipments are picking up amid the full resumption of production and rising demand from Asia, including India.

The Indian government said in April that it would require that a license from the Bureau of Indian Standards be held by Chinese LED exporters in a bid to reduce reliance on Chinese goods.

The South China Morning Post reported on Monday that India has been importing a large amount of LED lights for Diwali from China and other places in recent years, with a total import value of about 10 billion Indian rupees ($134 million).

Several suppliers reached by the Global Times said demand is strong from India, despite the unfriendly attitudes and policies of some Indian authorities targeting Chinese products.

Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times that the Modi government took the opportunity of the festival to urge to "localize" festival products and deliberately reduce the supply of Chinese products, which will fail since Chinese products are highly favored by Indian consumers for their low prices and high quality.

China-Indian relations have been at low ebb this year, and strengthening ties between India and the US have given India the guts to confront China in a bid to achieve more industrial chain transfers to replace Chinese products, experts said.

"This is what the Modi government has always done, which is why the Indian authorities have cracked down on Chinese companies and products, including TikTok," said Qian.

However, Qian noted that the strong demand for Chinese LED products puts the Indian authorities in an awkward situation with regard to Chinese products. While the government wants to restrict them, Indian shoppers are voting with their feet and wallets.

"Diwali in India is originally a symbol of light, but without LED lights from China, this light would turn 'dark'," said Qian.


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