The recent stand-off between India and China has made headlines across the world, especially as the border disputes have resulted in unfortunate casualties.
The unfortunate events at the border have fuelled the calls for banning Chinese products.
On the back of the growing nationalistic hype, the Indian Government has banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok and WeChat.
On June 29, a government press release announced a ban stating, “The Ministry of Information Technology has decided to block 59 apps since in view of the information available they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, the security of the state and public order.”
However, it is imperative to note that the Chinese sports market commands more than 65% of India’s sports market.
According to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, sports equipment and commodities worth Rs 91,872.59 lakh were imported from China from April 2019 to February 2020.
The growth of Chinese imports in the Indian sports market has been rapid with over 80% rise in just five years from Rs 59,434.58 lakh in 2014/15 to Rs 107,514.25 lakh in 2018/19.
Apart from imports, China plays a prominent role in esports in India. Tencent, a Chinese multinational conglomerate, is behind the giant esports in India.
Facts about Tencent
- Tencent holds 10% stake in Bluehole, developer of popular esports PUBG
- Tencent holds stakes in Activision, developer of the famous shooter Call of Duty series
- Tencent holds stakes in Riot Games, developer of the popular MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game League of Legends
Esports is not the only area affected by Chinese investments. Many of India’s sports are funded by Chinese companies indirectly.
Some of them include:
- Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 was backed by Vivo, a smartphone company under BBK Electronics, a Chinese company
- IPL’s official partners are Dream11 and Paytm which are backed by Tencent and Alibaba, respectively
- Alibaba holds 23% stake in Zomato, a sponsor of Royal Challengers Bangalore
- Dream11 sponsors IPL teams like Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals
- Vivo also paid around Rs 300 crore to command the Pro Kabaddi League title sponsorship rights for five years
- Oppo became the Indian cricket team’s primary shirt sponsor in 2017
Chinese companies also sponsor even individual sports players
- Badminton champion PV Sindhu is sponsored by Li Ning, a Chinese sports company
- BBK Electronics’ IQOO, a smartphone brand appointed Virat Kohli as their brand ambassador in February
So, it seems that ‘Boycott Chinese Goods‘ is easier said than done as China plays a significant role in the Indian sports market.