Boycott, ban or curb Chinese products seen in India: My thoughts

Posted on 05 Sep 2017 21:12 in Personal
by Siddharth Deshmukh

Patriotism is not in banning products from China, but making the products in India which Chinese and everyone else likes to buy from India.

A few days back I saw a message on WhatsApp group of a respected business group about flaunting banning Made in China products. I once laughed and decided to Ignore. I again read it and decided not to react but when I read the 3rd time and decided to pen down my thoughts.

(By the way mobile used to send this message must be either Made in China or Assembled in China!)


Becuase I am also Indian, and I also love India.
But my love for country is not motivated by any political or religious affiliation nor any irrational emotions. I think strong India will be the result of our hard work and peaceful existence. 


To love your country you don't need to hate another country.


Patriotism is not in banning products from China, but making the products in India which Chinese and everyone else likes to buy from India.


It seems like the shortest way to show Patriotism is to blame others; this is another simplest way of hiding own short comings. As tension on border heighten (by media?) anti sentiments for China is on rising. Understandably so, but still boycotting products is an example of rational thinking?


When I started writing this blog, there was stand off between India and China, while I am concluding the blog, like any mature economies they resolved the issues by diplomacy. While some experts, politician, and commoners believed that by boycotting Chinese products we could put pressure on China economically.


Which I think is wrong.

Here are some stats that show China’s Top Trading Partners, India is on the 7th number. China is exporting 58.9 billion dollar worth goods to India which is just 2.8% of their total export. Still, it is a big number, but I don't think any country will come under pressure just for 2.8% of export.


So, Is it really possible to boycott Chinese product in India?


Simple answer is NO


As a nation, India cannot bridge the massive trade deficits that it runs with China. It all boils down to competitiveness. India runs a large surplus of trade with the United States: US$21.6 billion, United Arab Emirates: $11.4 billion, Hong Kong: $6.1 billion which again boils down to Indian competitiveness vis-a-vis with these countries. In case of China, the scales turn around.


Simple economics suggest that one is using Chinese products because they are most competitive cost and quality wise. 


From Government and WTO point of view.


Here is Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on words, “Just because we may not like certain things about a country is not reason enough to block import from that country, we could impose anti-dumping duty but there are established ways to go about it and dumping has to be proved."

On curbing Chinese Product, she said, "Curbs can only be placed if there are quality issues or if imports are subsidized or dumped." "Anti dumping duties are Levid on particular items, or on certain tariff lines. They can not be Levid on across the board", She added.


From individual entrepreneur point of view.


As an entrepreneur, it simply doesn't make sense to produce or buy a product from sources inside your country just because you have negative sentiments for China. This is against business principals. For any business, they should source raw material or products, where it is cheap, in abundance and with certain acceptable quality so that you can resell it at fair margins.


What is right is that you should first search for a source in the local market if it can offer you a product with the same quality at 10% of plus or minus price difference. Becuase if you get a product with good quality at better pricing at the source, you can sell it further at a fair price.


If you can not produce such product locally then why blame others, before talking about banning products from China, it will be better to improve Indian manufacturing skills, infrastructure and capacity so that we can beat the Chinese at their game. 


You can not beat someone in the game by not playing the game.


Let's be practical

I saw many people holding iPhone talking about banning Chinese products; it only shows ignorance of a person. But on the other hand, iPhone proves that Chinse can produce not only cheap low-quality products but very high-quality products like iPhone too. 


The second example in every festival season in India some patriotic start promoting Made in India, nothing wrong with it. We all should promote Made in India but in the more rational way. The market runs on profits, and every individual also want to save (by the way he is same Indian not Chinese) so if in a store you have two product one is cheaper, but from China, other is a bit expensive but from locally sourced. Unfortunately same Indian wish to buy cheaper one, so trader also want to keep cheaper products, and importer naturally wants to import more competitive product because the market demands it. 


Shouting of banning Chinese product will not change anything. If we are really are Patriotic, we have to think two things - one how can they produce a product so cheap that from the small village of China it reaches to towns and villages in India (don't forget there is a chain of businesses between) but still they are cheaper than locally produced products. 


Secondly, boycotting Chinese product will result in Indian traders loss, as they first purchase this all stock from China, and they sell in India. If boycotted, it means Indians are self-destructing their economy, as those traders contribute to Indian economy by paying Tax.


Ok now let's try to dump every thing Chinese made -

  1. Toothpaste you use, possibly packing material is coming from China.
  2. Break fast you eat, probably crockery you use is from Chian. 
  3. Bike or Care you use to commute to work may have the mechanical or electronic components are manufactured in China.
  4. Mobile you use is either Made in China or Assembled in China.
    Indian smartphone market is occupied by Chinese companies which generate huge revenue for Indian economies. If boycotted, India is itself going to suffer a lot.
  5. The hotel you stay uses many things made in China.
  6. The computer you use again made in China.
  7. Machinery used to prepare your fashionable clothes are made in China.
  8. The flight you take, Airbus or Boeing use many parts made in China.
    By the way, China is built Commercial Aircraft for Passengers. So it means they want to remove their dependency on Airbus or Boeing, how about us?


And the list is so long. So is it possible for you to take out China from your life by banning few products? Or Collaborating and producing goods in India so everyone benefits?


Now let's see if Chinese or for that matter other nations can eliminate India?

  1. In most cases people wear cotton; possibly it's from India.
  2. Same for in most of the cases they eat sugar in any format, most likely it's from India.
  3. Milke or milk products people consumed have higher chances from India
  4. Gems and precious metals
  5. Pharmaceuticals


Here are India’s Top 10 Exports. India is also Words Top Rice Exporter

In fact, China is India Top Import Partner


So, should China ban Indian export?


Now most dear and proud for Indin is its knowledge force, software engineers. Including China, every time people use Software 90% chances that Indian company or engineer must have written some code.


So is it possible for banning software coded by Indian?


Patriosum, Protectism are conveniently used by politicians and religious outfits for own benefits.


You can make your nation stronger by working hard, thinking innovative, offering help, not by blaming others


I know many fellow startup founders working hard to make great products from India, some of them are even spectacularly successful. To name the few Zoho, Freshdesk, Wingfy, PayTM and of course Shimbi Labs, these start-ups selling globally some including China. But they don't mind computers they are using or mobile devices they are using made in China. They use them to make best software products to sell globally. Similarly many manufacturing companies are also doing the same.


So next time you see Chinese product, instead of mongering of banning it, think how you can better it by make it in India.


Again it is technically possible to ban Chinese products, but it would result in loss of income for both countries, and more for India.



We need to raise the competitiveness of the economy and foster an ecosystem for domestic manufacturing. The SEZ Act 2005, NMIZ, National Manufacturing Policy, industrial corridors (DMIC) and encouraging competition among states, these steps are in right direction, but the implementation is still a question mark.


Like Xiaomi Chinese mobile manufacturers phones in India. We need to ensure much more, not only Chinese companies but world wide companies should make India as their manufacturing hub. Instead of playing protectionism we need to collaborate for our benefits.


India is still in worst category for Ease of Doing business, particularly for contract enforcement, construction permits, land acquisition, delays, slow bureaucracy. India will do well if we focus on such structural impediments, rather than emotive outbursts against a perceived adversary.


There is much to learn and adapt from China, and developed economies and Indians should refrain from such infantile thoughts they are counter-productive.


Being Anti-China is easier, but if we want strong India, Making in India and if that required collaboration, we should not hesitate.


To become real Super Power, we must embrace progressive thinking.


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