India urged to provide level playing field for Chinese companies
Published: Jun 08, 2022 09:55 PM
Xiaomi India Photo: VCG

Xiaomi India Photo: VCG

Chinese businesses held a video meeting on Wednesday, urging India to improve its business environment and phase in a level playing field for Chinese companies. 

In a meeting themed "Webinar on Compliance Operation of Chinese Enterprises in India" held by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in India and the India China-Mobile-Phone Enterprise Association (CMA), the attending Chinese companies expressed concerns over tensions arising from the Indian government's latest move to suppress Xiaomi.

Following India's investigation of Xiaomi over whether the company's business practices matched up with Indian foreign exchange laws, the government launched more investigations into other Chinese companies, including ZTE and Vivo, alleging that they were suspected of financial misconduct, according to media reports.

This year, India has launched investigations over Chinese-funded enterprises that received wide coverage by local media, some intentionally exaggerating and hyping the issue, Chen Guihua, commercial counselor at the Chinese Embassy in India, said at the meeting.

In the investigations, the Indian authorities reportedly restricted the personal freedoms and seized the electronic equipment of Chinese-funded enterprises' employees, and the companies are also at risk of facing various punishments, Chen said.

"But the investigation does not mean that Chinese companies are not operating in compliance with the law," Chen said, adding that Indian regulations are complex and companies need to strengthen their understanding to avoid non-compliance.

The Chinese Embassy will continue to enhance communication, coordination and negotiations with relevant Indian departments, while actively mobilizing all parties to push for a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese-funded enterprises in India, Chen said. He stressed that the Chinese Embassy will safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese-funded enterprises and employees.

In addition to probing Chinese companies, the Indian government has also banned mobile apps with China-related backgrounds over alleged security issues.

Since the first batch of 59 apps was banned in June 2020, more than 320 apps with Chinese business connections have been stopped, according to a report by China Telecom Global Limit.

"New Delhi conducted investigations against Chinese-funded companies, which made some Chinese companies very pessimistic about India's business environment, and some even plan to withdraw from the Indian market," Li Ge, president of the CMA, said at the meeting.

India's business environment for Chinese-funded enterprises is deteriorating, which has affected the confidence of Chinese-invested enterprises, Harris Liu from the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in India said on Wednesday.

"The Chamber of Commerce will call on the Indian side to treat Chinese-funded enterprises equally and improve the business environment," Liu said.

Despite the suppression and economic punishment by the Indian government, many Chinese-funded companies have set a stronghold in local market. Compared with other brands, Chinese mobile phones and home appliances have an absolute advantage in cost performance, according to Li.

Among the top five cell phones in terms of shipments in the Indian smartphone market, Chinese brands account for four -- Xiaomi, Redmi, OPPO and vivo.

In the first quarter, Chinese smartphone brands led by Xiaomi accounted for 66 percent of the Indian market, setting a new record, while sales of Chinese mobile brands in general increased by 20 percent, said Counterpoint Research, a research institute.

Global Times