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Will boycotting Chinese goods benefit India in the long run?

Following the Chinese attack on the Indian borders, across social media, users exhort boycotting Chinese products. Is this practical? What should we boycott? Products labelled with ‘Made in China’ stickers or the ‘Made in India’ products that are actually assembled using Chinese equipment? It is not easy to boycott China in the market like typing a comment on social media following the trend.

Electronic sets like Xiaomi can prove to be more Indian than its ‘Made in India’ counterparts, claims Manu Kumar Jain, MD, Xiaomi India. Televisions and mobile phones are manufactured using 65% locally sourced components. Xiaomi provides employment to over 50,000 people. At the same time, Manu argues that many US brands and Indian-made brands either assemble Chinese-based components or place the ‘Made in India’ sticker on their handsets.

India imports seven times its exports to China. The question is how practical it is to boycott Chinese products when India imports $7000 Cr worth goods from China and exports just $1,600 Cr back to China. India imports a range of products such as electronic goods, smartphones, industrial goods, vehicles, solar cells, medicine and antibiotics from China. India accounts for only 2% of China’s exports. This means two points should be clarified before continuing the boycott movement. For one, China’s exports will not be hampered with our boycott. The boycott can only be seen as a sentimental protest. Also, what is the remedy for the Chinese components in the Indian-made or US-made products?

Another important factor to be considered is that some of the key startups in India including Byju’s, Ola and Swiggy have investments from China. What will be their future? Remember that the dragon we are trying to send into exile is already at our doorstep. What will we do?

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