Saturday, June 20, 2020

Can India Afford Economic Boycott of China After Ladakh?

Indian consumers are hooked to a whole range of Chinese products. India's industry sources critical components from China. Indian startups rely on Chinese venture capital. Can Indians really afford to boycott China without seriously hurting themselves after the killing of Indian soldiers by the Chinese Army in Ladakh?  Let's look at the data.

China-India Lopsided Trade. Source: Times of India

Volume of China-India Trade:

India accounts for $70 billion of China's export,  less than 3% of the country's $2.5 trillion in exports. Chinese products make up about 18% of India's total imports.

India imports almost seven times more from China than it exports to it, according Indian media reports. India runs huge trade deficit with China – its largest with any country. In 2018-19, India’s exports to China were mere $16.7 billion, while imports were $70.3 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $53.6 billion.

Indian Industries Dependence on China:

Indian industry depends on China for a range of raw materials. About a fifth of  components used by Indian automobile industry come from China. 70 percent of all electronic components used by Indian companies are imported from China.

Over 45% of consumer durables, 70% of APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) come from China. Nearly 75% of the telecom equipment used by Indian carriers is from China, according to the Sunday Guardian.

Chinese Venture Capital in India. Source: Economic Times

Indian Startup Venture Capital:

China is the biggest source of venture capital in India.  Chinese VCs have poured about $4 billion in 90 startups in India. Two-thirds of Indian start-ups valued at more than $1 billion have at least one Chinese investor.  High-profile startups like Byju, Flipkart, Ola, PayTM and Zomato.

India's startup ecosystem continues to be dependent on large swathes of foreign funding given the ongoing absence of home-grown pools of capital. It will face significant near-to-medium term cash constraints if investors from the world’s second-largest economy walk away, according to Economic Times. 

India-China Comparison. Source: Gaurav Dalmia


With growing Chinese trade and investment in India, the Indian economy has become significantly dependent on China.  Chinese VCs have poured about $4 billion in 90 startups in India. Two-thirds of Indian start-ups valued at more than $1 billion have at least one Chinese investor About a fifth of  components used by Indian automobile industry come from China. 70 percent of all electronic components used by Indian companies are imported from China. Similarly, 45 percent of consumer durables, 70% of APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) come from China. Nearly 75% of the telecom equipment used by Indian carriers is from China, according to the Sunday Guardian. Indians can not boycott China without seriously hurting themselves.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

China in Ladakh

Pakistan's Startup Ecosystem

Consumer Durables in India and Pakistan

Digital BRI and 5G in Pakistan

Pakistan Tech Exports Exceed Billion Dollars

Pakistan's Demographic Dividend

Pakistan EdTech and FinTech Startups

State Bank Targets Fully Digital Economy in Pakistan

Campaign of Fear Against CPEC

Fintech Revolution in Pakistan

E-Commerce in Pakistan

The Other 99% of the Pakistan Story

FMCG Boom in Pakistan

Belt Road Forum 2019

Fiber Network Growth in Pakistan

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said...

Omnipotent Tencent eyes promising high-tech industries for future
By Zhang Dan Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/24 22:12:33

Chinese tech giant Tencent has invested 10 billion yuan ($1.41 billion) in a large-scale big data center in North China's Tianjin, covering an area of 280 mu (18.67 hectares).

Equipped with 300,000 servers, the center will provide significant support to the company's business in North China and serve domestic internet users while offering comprehensive cloud platform services to other enterprises.

Closely following Tencent's investments in recent years, Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based veteran tech industry observer, found cloud-services have become top priorities for the company.

"Once finished, the data center will greatly facilitate Tencent's cloud service capacity and help with its partners," Liu said.

Owning China's most popular messaging app WeChat, the omnipotent tech giant is eyeing more.

And, Tencent is preparing to buy a stake in Oxford Nanopore, a biotech firm leading the UK's charge to develop testing kits for COVID-19, Sky News reported on June 19.

Investing in a diverse range of business sectors, from e-commerce to video gaming, from ride hailing to fintech, and from electric cars to social media, the tech giant has a vision for promising industries in the future.

So far, Tencent has built two major labs for artificial intelligence (AI) and cutting-edge technologies, covering AI, robotics, quantum computing, 5G and the Internet of Things.

"It is notable that Tencent has invested in multiple areas. More importantly, it does not seek control over the companies that it invests in. Instead, it empowers the companies and helps them grow together," Liu told the Global Times on Wednesday that Liu Qiangdong is still the decision- maker for e-commerce platform, rather than Tencent.

Like fellow conglomerate Alibaba, Chinese tech giants do not seek a particular label, but dabble in all areas, Liu said. "In the future, Tencent and Alibaba will perform as platforms, assisting developers and partners to explore, research, test and expand."

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Tencent's stock price soared. After eliminating weight price, the share surpassed a record high on January 29, 2018 and has witnessed 28 percent growth since 2020.

Liu noted that it shows the capital market remains optimistic about Tencent's future due to its far-sighted layouts in different industries, of which some have already achieved good results.

"The destiny of China will be driven by tech companies. The 'new infrastructure' is based on technological manufacturing and technological infrastructure building, relying on giants like Huawei, Tencent, Alibaba and the like," Liu said.

After domestic tech giants go international, they will definitely challenge the positions of Western tech giants, namely Google and Facebook, he said, giving credit to the better services and multiple functions of Chinese apps.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) recently published a survey of 2,500 global innovation executives and found Huawei had made an impressive leap - jumping 42 places to rank 6th among all the most innovative companies around the world.

Alibaba, Tencent and are all in the top 50.

"Digital, networked and intelligent applications make China's economy and Chinese society more resilient in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak," Ren Yuxin, chief operating officer of Tencent Holdings, said at the Fourth World Intelligence Congress in Tianjin on Tuesday.

He noted smart logistics, online healthcare services, online education and telecommuting have facilitated China's work resumption accurately and in an orderly manner.

Riaz Haq said...

Can #India afford to boycott #China? China is India’s second-largest #trading partner after #US. It accounts for nearly 12% of India’s imports incl #chemicals, #auto parts, consumer #electronics and #pharmaceuticals. $6.2 billion Chinese #FDI in India

India’s booming smartphone sector also heavily depends on cheap Chinese phones made by Oppo, Xaomi and others with the lion’s share of the local market.

Most consumer electronics makers say they’ll be paralysed if they can’t import crucial intermediate goods from China.

“We are not worried about finished goods. But most players across the globe import key components such as compressors from China,” says B Thiagrajan, managing director of Blue Star Limited, an Indian manufacturer of air conditioners, air purifiers and water coolers.

Mr Thiagrajan adds that it will take a long time to set up local supply chains, and that there are few alternatives for certain kinds of imports.

Chinese money funds Indian unicorns

India and China have also become increasingly integrated in recent years. Chinese money, for instance, has penetrated India's technology sector, with companies like Alibaba and Tencent strategically pumping in billions of dollars into Indian startups such as Zomato, Paytm, Big Basket and Ola. This has led to Chinese giants deeply "embedding themselves" in India’s socio-economic and technology ecosystem, according to Gateway House, a Mumbai-based think tank.

“There have been more than 90 Chinese investments in Indian startups, most of them made over the last five years. Eighteen out of 30 Indian unicorns [tech startups valued at over $1bn] have a Chinese investor,” says Amit Bhandari, an analyst at Gateway house.

At $6.2bn, direct Chinese investment in India appears relatively small. But, Mr Bhandari says, restricting the likes of Alibaba from creating monopolies in the Indian market will be crucial given the “outsized impact” of these investments.

To that effect, India has already amended its FDI (foreign direct investment) rules to stave off hostile takeovers of Indian companies.

While China has accused India of contravening WTO principles, it’s unlikely to cut ice under current circumstances "as there is no way of enforcing any decision if an inter-country conflict is cited as a reason to justify the violations”, Zulfiquar Memon, managing partner at MZM Legal, said in an email interview.

Riaz Haq said...

#India bans 59 Chinese Apps, including #TikTok. The move came amid tension with #China following the June 15 clashes at #Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers died in action and more than 70 were injured. #BoycottChina #Modi #BJP via @ndtv

The Centre has blocked 59 apps with Chinese links that included the hugely popular TikTok, WeChat and UC Browser, amid a huge economic backlash against China following the June 15 clashes at Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers died in action. Sources said inputs from intelligence agencies suggested that the apps have been violating the terms of usage, compromising users privacy, and being used as spyware or malware. Within minutes of the announcement, the Indian government's TikTok account MyGov, which had 1.1 million followers, was disabled.
The move comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India has given a "befitting response" to China. He also spoke of the countrywide call for boycott of Chinese goods, juxtaposing it against the government's "Atma Nirbhar Bharat" campaign. "We will buy local and be vocal for local and this will help India become stronger," he said.

In a statement this evening, the government said the apps were blocked "in view of information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order."

The statement from the Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology said it had received an "exhaustive recommendation" from the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The ministry said it also received representations from people on "security of data and risk to privacy" regarding certain apps.

"The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures. At the same time, there have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians," said the release.

The move comes amid a countrywide call from traders and civil society to boycott Chinese products and services after the June 15 clashes. The government had chipped in with a bar on Chinese equipment for the 4G upgradation of the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and sacking of a Chinese firm that had a Rs 471-crore railways contract.

Last week, the government also made the mention of the "Country of Origin" mandatory for sellers listing their products in the Government e-Marketplace -- a move that's expected to add to the odds against Chinese products. E-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart, have decided to follow suit.

Experts suggested that the ban on apps is a major blow to China's Digital Silk Route ambitions, eroding millions of dollars from valuation of its companies. This could also lead to more countries following India's path in acting against these Apps.

"The Modi government shows its tremendous resolve and dexterity of engaging China on multiple fronts and hitting China where it hurts the most," said a party source. "This is India's first salvo to China after the border clashes, showing that India has a diverse range of retaliatory options," he added.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's 50% cut in #Chinese #FDI poses bleak prospect for #Indian economy. #China has become a significant FDI source for #India in recent years, with some estimates pointing to investments totaling $10 billion from 2017 to 2019.- Global Times

Double blows from the COVID-19 pandemic and hostility of the Indian government may turn 2020 into a turning point for Chinese investment to India, according to a Global Times survey of experts on China-India economic and trade relations.

All experts surveyed by the Global Times predicted Chinese overseas direct investment (ODI) into India will drop "sharply" in 2020, with two experts forecasting a more than 50 percent cut. Globally, foreign direct investment is already expected to shrink by 40 percent in 2020, according to a UN report released in June.

Experts said the bleak prospect is a warning sign for the Indian government, which sees its economy running out of steam and could have counted on investment from China if Chinese investors' confidence had not been shattered.

China has become a significant FDI source for India in recent years, with some estimates pointing to investments totaling $10 billion from 2017 to 2019.

Qian Feng, director of the research department of the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said that while investment from China steadily increased in the past few years, 2020 will not only see a 50 percent decline in Chinese investment but a turning point in bilateral economic and trade relations.

"Bad feelings go both ways, and the chance for China-India relationship to pick up in short-term is slim. Chinese investors are on the edge with risk-aversion instinct kicking in," Qian told the Global Times.

Since the deadly clash between Chinese and Indian troops in the Galwan Valley on June 15, hyper-nationalism has risen in India where calls for boycotting Chinese products and footage of Indian citizens destroying TV sets have been seen on social media. India's new investment regulation in April, which some claim is a thinly veiled policy to thwart Chinese investment in India, has also worsened ties, experts said.

Dai Yonghong, director of Institute of Bay of Bengal Studies with Shenzhen University, declared that age-old economic populism, unconstrained and unchecked by India's elite class, has simply made India an unfit destination for additional investment from China.

A sudden contraction of Chinese investment will affect India, experts pointed out, in contrast with Indian media outlets downplaying the role of Chinese capital.

Declining investment from China would further add pressure to the Indian economy, which is facing heavy growth pressure amid a severe domestic COVID-19 outbreak, Lou Chunhao, deputy director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.

"Raising thresholds or rejecting investment from Chinese companies will drop the rock on India's own feet," he said.

As India risks becoming the next epicenter of the pandemic, with more than 540,000 confirmed cases as of Sunday, its value as a viable investment destination also vaporized, analysts said.

In the IMF's latest world economic outlook released last week, India's 2020 growth projection was revised down 6.4 percentage points, from positive growth of 1.9 percent to a negative growth of 4.5 percent. The world's fifth largest economy is heading toward its first recession since 1979.

The June forecast is in marked difference with that of April's, in which India was believed to have a slightly faster growth rate for the year than China.

Liu Xiaoxue, an associate research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' National Institute of International Strategy, said it is economic situations that ultimately determine the flow of investment and the sudden rise in uncertainty in India would have a decisive consequence.

Riaz Haq said...

Economists say: No more a recession, India headed towards ‘depression’. From an output and employment point of view, #India is looking at anything between 15% and 22% contraction. #Modi #BJP #COVID #Economy #depression #Ladakh #Kashmir #Pakistan #China

While everyone now has accepted the inevitable, that the GDP will contract in the current financial year (2020- 2021), the estimates vary. The World Bank pegs it at 3.2 per cent while Crisil puts it at 5 per cent. An RBI survey paints the rosiest picture as of June 10, saying that the economy will contract by only 1.5 per cent.

However, several economists warn that the impact will likely be much worse. Surajit Das, assistant professor at JNU’s Centre for Economic Studies and Planning (CESP), puts a perspective to the situation.

“Since economic recovery does not happen overnight, economic activities in the next few quarters will also take some time to recover. Looking at GDP from an output and employment point of view, I would say you are looking at anything between a 15 and 22 per cent contraction,” he says.

Das’ ominous predictions are not without ground. According to India’s retail association, sales of non-essential items - such as clothes, electronics, furniture - fell by 80 per cent in May. Even sales of essential goods - such as groceries and medicines - dipped by 40 per cent.

An independent countrywide survey involving 1,000 respondents carried out by research scholars at CESP found out that at least 80 per cent of them have put off plans of purchasing consumer durables (ACs, washing machines, TVs and other white goods), automobiles and real estate while also postponing domestic travel plans.

Veteran economist Arun Kumar in fact thinks the contraction of GDP in the months of the lockdown has been even more severe.

“I would say about 75 per cent of the GDP was wiped out in April and about 65 per cent in May. Exports, investment and consumption, all three engines of growth went into a tailspin,” says Kumar.

Kumar goes further in saying, “India would be the first country in modern history to face a depression. It would take at least three to four years to emerge out of it.”

“In the current fiscal, the GDP is set to contract by at least 30 per cent. My estimate is that from Rs 204 lakh crore, our GDP will come down to Rs 130 lakh crore. Tax to GDP ratio will fall from 16 per cent to 8 per cent. In such a situation, it would be difficult for the government to pay salaries or finance the defence budget.”

Das agrees and says, “I will strongly urge the government to universalise the MGNREGA programme and expand it to urban areas. About 50 crore Indians live in urban and semi-urban areas and there are scores of non-salaried people there who do not work in the organised sector. I will also call upon the government to remove the 100 days cap and revise the pay from Rs 202 a day to Rs 350 in rural areas and Rs 450 in urban areas. These are absolute musts till these people find employment again,” he says.

While economists have been saying time and again wage-led growth that will boost demand is the only way to remedy the situation, the government seems to think supply-side interventions will save the day. More demand leads to more output and profit and more employment. Unless the government wakes up to the reality that without aggregate investment there would be no change in demand, output and employment, the situation is likely to get worse.

Liquidity infusion into banks is meaningless unless that money reaches the economy. Loans at lower interest will simply be used by old borrowers to service old loans and not get translated into aggregate investment. Already, non-food credit offtake growth is in the negative.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's ban on #TikTok devastates users in #India. #Chinese app made stars out of poor villagers in India. Then it was banned. 90% of TikTok’s revenues come from #China but it had hired 2,000 #Indians and planned to invest $1 billion in 3 years in India.

India’s TikTok nation has felt the sting.

“I am so dejected,” Gaikwad said by phone from Ambad, a village of cotton and millet farms 200 miles east of Mumbai.

By Monday, the day the ban was announced, her account had amassed nearly half a million followers. That night, she barely slept. She was mourning the loss of not just a favorite “timepass” — Indian parlance for a frivolous activity — but of a new way of seeing herself.

Gaikwad became known as the “mutton lady” after that early video and soon began posting several times daily — mostly snapshots of rural life, laced with zany comedy. Often, she is squatting over a stove on her tiled floor, stirring mutton cubes or kneading dough in her dark patterned nightgown. Or she’s lip-syncing old Bollywood love songs, using her bewildered husband, Ankush, as a prop.

In one clip, she’s sitting atop a brick wall like an Indian Lucille Ball, mock-shrieking: “I’m stuck! How do I get down?” That got 1.4 million views.

Celebrity isn’t something Gaikwad expected, growing up poor in Maharashtra state and raising four children with Ankush, who earns $120 a month as a local government employee. When she goes to the market now, she said, people stop her for selfies. Strangers ask to shoot videos with her. Some even come to her house.

“I never got into TikTok for money,” she said. “But I got respect, legitimacy and confidence. We are poor people. We have never received any attention in life. All we have gotten is disdain and scorn. TikTok turned it around.”

Akash Jadhav, a 21-year-old farmer’s son who drives a rickshaw in the rural town of Beed, is a voice for social justice on TikTok, where he posts about sexual harassment, acid attacks, alcoholism and domestic violence to more than 284,000 followers.

Now he is regularly invited to inaugurate offices and shops across the area, his travel expenses paid. His parents, who have struggled financially due to a years-long drought in the farming region, boast of him to relatives. Born into one of the lowest rungs of India’s ancient caste hierarchy, he described with pride the friendships he’d formed with a doctor, a lawyer and a police officer, men he considered far above his social station in heavily stratified India.

“TikTok opened up a new world for me,” he said.

Jadhav said he hoped India would introduce alternatives to the app. Instagram and Facebook, he added, were “dominated by a completely different section of society.”

Nikhil Pahwa, founder of Medianama, a website that covers the Indian digital industry, said that TikTok’s intuitive, full-screen design and emphasis on music made it a hit with rural Indians who found American apps too text-heavy or clunky.

“TikTok specialized in being a platform that is accessible irrespective of socioeconomic class,” Pahwa said. “That’s why it’s become a hub of creative activity from places that we didn’t expect.”

Riaz Haq said...

ICRA Sees #India's Real #GDP Shrink By Almost Double Digits In FY21. Rating agency now expects FY21 GDP to contract by 9.5%, a sharp downward revision from earlier forecast of 5% decline. Why: Rising #Covid19 and local lockdowns. #Modi Via @Bloombergquint

ICRA Ltd. has sharply cut its forecast for the Indian economy in FY21, citing localised lockdowns and rising Covid-19 cases. Its forecast is now the most pessimistic among major institutional forecasters.

The rating agency now expects FY21 real GDP to contract by 9.5%, a sharp downward revision of its earlier forecast of a 5% contraction. The climbing Covid-19 infections have resulted in a spate of localised lockdowns in some states and cities, arresting the nascent recovery that had set in during May-June 2020, it said in a statement on Thursday.

“The Indian economy had started to recover from the troughs experienced in April 2020, when the lockdown was at its severest, and many sectors seemed to be adjusting to a new normal. However, the unabated rise in Covid-19 infections in the unlock phase and re-imposition of localised lockdowns in several states, appear to have interrupted this recovery,” said Aditi Nayar, principal economist at ICRA.

Given the severity of the pandemic and the duration of the safety measures that need to be employed, we now expect a deeper pace of GDP contraction in Q2 FY21 relative to our earlier forecast, ICRA said. The agency said the economic impact would also be more uneven, as different regions move in and out of lockdowns and persisting labour supply mismatches affect supply chains and consumption patterns.

India recorded nearly 32,000 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday with the total number of cases rising to 9.6 lakh.

As a result of the spreading infections, economists, who were earlier anticipating the economic recovery to begin in the second quarter and strengthen in the third quarter, are now revisiting that assumption.

The timeline for a firmer recovery out of the contractionary phase is now being pushed ahead to at least Q4 FY21 from Q3 FY21. This presumes that a vaccine will be widely available by then, which now appears necessary for discretionary consumption to recover in certain sectors such as travel, hospitality and recreation.
Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist, ICRA
Also Read: Covid-19: Shape Of India’s Economic Recovery Goes From V To W-ish

ICRA expects the Indian economy to have contracted by 25% in Q1 FY2021. It now expects a shallower recovery in subsequent quarters than estimated earlier.

GDP is estimated to contract by 12.4% in Q2 FY21 as compared to a contraction of 2.1% estimated earlier.
GDP is estimated to contract by 2.3% in Q3 FY21, compared to an earlier estimate of GDP growth at 2.1%.
GDP forecast for Q4 FY21 too has been revised to a growth rate of 1.3% from 5% as per ICRA’s previous estimates.
The agency, however, does expect the rural economy to remain a bright spot. High frequency indicators in the rural economy such as kharif acreage and tractor sales continue to strengthen. “ICRA, thus, continues to expect agricultural gross value added to rise by 3.5-4.0% in FY21, supporting rural sentiment,” it said.

Despite the revised GDP forecasts, ICRA said it doesn’t see significant fiscal support due to the revenue pressures being faced by various levels of government.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's ex National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan on ties with #China: "We cannot completely block off all relationships with China economically. At least, that’s the way I see it, because we need to progress" #Modi #Hindutva #Ladakh #economy #trade

The border clash soured public sentiment in India toward Chinese brands, leading to calls to boycott Chinese businesses. The bilateral relationship is currently skewed in China’s favor in areas of trade, investment and technology, data showed.

New Delhi has introduced measures in recent months that either sidelined or banned Chinese companies from one of the world’s largest consumer markets. They included restricting Chinese investments into India even before the border face-off occurred.

India also recently banned several dozen Chinese apps including the highly popular short video-sharing app, TikTok. Existing contracts with Chinese vendors were also canceled and there were reports suggesting Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE might eventually be excluded from India’s 5G development.

In most of those decisions, India did not specifically name China but, rather, justified the moves on national security grounds, according to a note from consultancy Eurasia Group.

“We’re not enemies, but I think there’s always a problem about being friends,” Narayanan said. “There is a competition between the two civilizations.”

Narayanan explained that India needs to focus on managing its economic relationship with China rather than shutting it down completely.

He referred to India’s refusal last year to be part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which would form a major trading bloc involving Asia’s top economies, including China, and cover nearly a third of the world’s GDP. Some saw India’s presence in RCEP as a counterbalance to China.

“We left the field practically open for China,” he said. “I think India cannot afford to step back. India needs to be in the economic arena, the economic space. I think India’s drive in recent years has been such that I think we can fulfill that objective.”

Analysts have said that recent tensions between the two neighbors could potentially push India to establish closer ties with the United States and countries like Japan and Australia.

Riaz Haq said...

What #Indians Lost From #tiktokban: Rural women who lacked access to any big platform found some measure of fame & newfound confidence in the face of oppressive societies. Independent musicians escaped #Bollywood stranglehold to find fame via @thewire_in

It’s not an overstatement to say this has been a tragedy for Indian users. Despite its myriad flaws, TikTok’s dominance of Indian social media was a nearly unalloyed good for many of the less well-off people who enjoyed it. In a highly stratified society, a video app with a notoriously addictive algorithm happened to cut across castes, faiths, and other gulfs, all so Indians could watch one another’s lip-syncs and skits. When the government pulled the plug—the app disappeared from the Apple and Google app stores, and users in the country can no longer access any videos—it deprived users of entertainment, a budding alternative media source, and in many cases income.

While the first prohibition was spurred by officials’ concerns over illicit and exploitative content on the platform (which the app then attempted to moderate by flagging and taking down millions of videos), this one followed India’s mid-June clashes with China stemming from decades long border disputes. In a move that month befitting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative, the Indian government removed 59 Chinese-made apps, TikTok among them, citing national security concerns. S....

but another popular app owned by ByteDance, Resso, is currently allowed in India. Yet a protectionist argument doesn’t make much sense, either: It’s not like India is keeping out Instagram’s new Reels feature, which is seen as a “TikTok clone” and had one of its first launches in the country. Reels is rapidly gaining fans—no surprise, since Instagram and Facebook are widely used in India. ....

...As of April, TikTok had had 610 million downloads and 600 million active users within India—about 44% of the population and over a quarter of total worldwide TikTok downloads. Not only did Indians love TikTok, but the app had recently become an effective tool to mobilize for protests and other forms of social education and organization. ...

......the app supported 15 different tongues in the country, transcending language and literacy barriers; and it could also be used on cheaper, budget-friendly phones.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian #startup valuations uncertain amid uncertainty about more #Chinese investments. #China has already invested in 18 of India's 30 #unicorns that include food delivery apps, a ride-hailing app, a hotel chain & #edtech startup. #technology #Ladakh

Indian start-ups, still reeling from the effects of a global pandemic, are now faced with a fresh challenge: the ongoing military standoff between Delhi and Beijing.
India has been on an economic offensive since June, when a border clash in the Himalayan region of Ladakh left 20 Indian soldiers dead. The two sides have since accused each other of violating the border consensus, and tensions have been rising.
Chinese companies have already invested in 18 of India's 30 unicorns - technology companies with a valuation of over $1bn (£772m). The list spans popular food delivery apps, a taxi aggregator, a hotel chain and a company that offers e-learning programmes.
But now their fate - and that of start-ups that were hoping to attract Chinese money in the future - looks uncertain.
“Clearly one big source of capital has vanished,” Haresh Chawla, partner at True North, a private equity firm, said.
“The ecosystem is likely to see muted valuations and slower deal flows, since they [Chinese] were very active, especially in the mobile and consumer segment of the market.”
Delhi has already banned more than 200 Chinese apps, including hugely popular ones such as TikTok and PUBG. It also proscribed investment from China in highway projects and small and medium enterprises. And “boycott China” has become a loud rallying cry.

But all of this came on the heels of something bigger - in April, India introduced tighter foreign direct investment rules to prevent hostile takeovers during the pandemic.
The result has had an outsized impact on India’s capital hungry start-ups.
A decade ago, Chinese investment in India was negligible.
But data obtained by the BBC from start-up research firm Tracxn shows that 35 Chinese corporations and 85 venture capital and private equity firms have invested over $4bn in major Indian start-ups including PayTM, Snapdeal and Swiggy since 2010.
Chinese investment into India as a share of foreign direct investment has more than doubled during this period, from 5% to 11%.
India may have refused to sign up to Beijing’s multi-billion Belt and Road Initiative – a mammoth infrastructure project of overland and maritime routes, often called the modern Silk Route.
But the country “has unwittingly signed up for the virtual corridor,” Gateway House, a think tank, observed in a recent report.
“The impact is unlikely to be dramatic on early-stage investments," Mr Chawla said. "There is enough dry powder with many VCs to shepherd firms through.”

Riaz Haq said...

One hard truth that Indians have to contend with is that America has also had difficulty treating India with respect. In recent years, many Americans have proudly proclaimed that America and India have a friendship built on a strong foundation since both are fellow democracies. This argument cuts little ice among thoughtful Indians since most of them remember well that America stood shoulder to shoulder with communist China and dictatorial Pakistan for several decades during the Cold War and beyond. One of the critical weaknesses of Washington, DC, is that the administrations and their officials change regularly; they have poor memories. Many Americans, like many of their fellow Westerners, have a higher degree of respect for Chinese civilization than they do of Indian civilization. Many Americans will deny it because it is an uncomfortable truth. They will proclaim loudly that they respect India as much as they respect China. But you cannot feign respect: it is best demonstrated not through words but in deeds. Every country in the world demonstrates its respect for another country by the amount of time and attention it gives to that country, and America has devoted far more time and attention to China than it has to India. If America wants to develop a close long-term relationship with India over the long run, it needs to confront the deep roots of its relative lack of respect for India. Is it a result of a perception among Western scholars that Indian civilization is not as impressive as Chinese civilization? Is this a result of the fact that the American media has broadcast a steady stream of stories about poverty in India, so much so that just as Americans naturally associate Africa with poverty, they may also do the same with India? Or were America’s condescending cultural attacks a result of romantic fascination with British dramas set in British India, with Indian culture presented as inferior? Unless Americans reflect on the roots of their lack of respect for India, they will fail to develop a strong partnership of equals. The tragedy of this failure is that such a partnership would bring massive benefits to both countries. As the American century gradually fades away in the coming decades and an Asian century emerges in force, America will need to build bridges to engage the new self-confident Asian societies. Clearly, China cannot provide America a bridge to the new Asia as China will be perceived as the main challenger to America for the coming decades. However, India can, as there are several common links to build upon. The first is the exceptional success of the Indian community in America. America’s free enterprise system is, in many ways, the most competitive market in the world for human achievement as the best minds from nations all over the world migrate to America. The pool of migrants in America represents the highest achieving segments of societies around the world. When the best brains of the world compete on a level playing field, which ethnic community does the best? The data show it is the ethnic Indian community in America.

Mahbubani, Kishore. Has China Won? (pp. 239-241). PublicAffairs. Kindle Edition.

Riaz Haq said...

Time for #China to toughen up on insincere #India. Will India fire the first shot? The Indian military, or some of its forces, are influenced by right-wing #Hindu nationalist organization RSS, which pervade all facets of Indian society. - Global Times

Only three days after the sixth round of the China-India military commander-level meeting on Monday with consensus reached by the two sides to cool rising border tensions, The Hindu quoted a "senior [Indian] government official" and suggested "If PLA (People's Liberation Army) comes close, Indian troops can fire." Such hype only embodies India is being a coward in a lion's skin.

The two countries agreed to stop sending more troops to the frontline in their latest talks. This is relatively in favor of India, because New Delhi has deployed far more troops to border areas than Beijing. In the latest conflict near the Pangong Tso Lake, Indian troops illegally crossed the border, and initially occupied some highlands. India is hoping it could maintain such an "advantage," and therefore wishes the PLA will not "come close."

Will India fire the first shot? The possibility cannot be ruled out. The Indian military, or some of its forces, are influenced by nationalist sentiment and the right-wing Hindu nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which pervade all facets of Indian society. It may be true that some people want to provoke a war.

India has always been calculating on its rhetoric. If the situation is favorable to India, it would advocate that disputes could be resolved by negotiations. This is what happened in early May. But after the skirmish on June 15, when India believed it suffered a loss, the country started to clamor for war. After India's aggression near the Pangong Tso Lake at the end of August, it wanted to talk to China again.

When India tends to believe it has some advantages, it would hope to negotiate with China and try to make China concede in talks. This is what is going on for the moment. New Delhi is playing the tactic - using its small leverage to maximize returns, wishing Beijing to make a compromise in the entire region of confrontation.

The attempt to occupy more strategic heights in border areas has been India's consistent goal, a tactic through which India tries to nibble into more border areas.

However, India has difficulties to confront. Its domestic epidemic crisis is rising. Although it has deployed large-scale troops in border areas, the country's logistics sector is facing huge challenges, especially as winter approaches.

Logistics supplies play a decisive role in modern warfare. China's ability to send troops, weapons and ammunition, as well as supplies to the border far outweighs that of India. If India dares to fire the first shot, it will have no chance to fire a second one.

China wants no war and used to see India as a "brother" in developing countries. China has been proactively promoting cooperation with India, both on the bilateral level and in multinational platforms. There was a time when China hoped it could jointly rise with India, in an attempt to realize the rejuvenation of the two ancient civilizations, even the rejuvenation of Asia.

But India does not think so. It is trying to shape a new global industrial chain without China. It wants to stand with the US against the rise of China, and has been observing China's emergence from a geopolitical lens, fearing China could one day become the dominant power in Asia.

Riaz Haq said...

As #Chinese imports soar in #India, what happened to #Modi’s #MakeInIndia hype? #Indian govt data shows #China's share of the total imports in India has gone up from 13.7% last financial year to 18.3% in the 6 months to September. via @scmpnews

China not only remains India’s biggest source of imports, its share of the total actually increased in the six months to September, government data shows
Indian traders and manufacturers are struggling to end their reliance on Chinese goods partly thanks to a lack of high quality, locally made alternatives


Much of this has to do with the nature of India’s imports – more than half of which go towards producing finished goods – and the realisation that slogans popularised by Modi such as “vocal for local” might be easy to chant but are harder to put into practice.


Last week, the Reserve Bank of India announced the country had entered into a technical recession “for the first time in its history”, after recording a contraction – this time of 8.6 per cent – for the second quarter in a row. Between April and June, Asia’s third-largest economy shrank by 24 per cent, official figures show.
Despite this, Modi recently claimed India’s economy was on its way to recovery and would achieve his government’s target size of US$5 trillion by 2024 from the estimated US$2.8 trillion it is worth at present. Economic forecasters at Oxford Economics, however, said on Thursday that growth would continue to stall at around 4.5 per cent until 2025.
The government stills looks determined to walk the route of ‘self-reliance’ though. A day after 15 nations signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Programme (RCEP) without India, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said the country was determined to move away from trade arrangements towards a “self-reliant India” policy to “consolidate comprehensive national power”. Despite repeated attempts to reach them, officials in India’s commerce ministry did not comment.
The result is a deepening crisis for India’s traders and manufacturers, one of whom told This Week In Asia on condition of anonymity that the country’s smallest enterprises were the ones suffering the most. “The government asked us to not sack employees but offered us little relief or stimulus. Where we need substantial relief, we got a moratorium on our loans,” he said, referring to the government’s US$265 billion in economic aid announced in May.

Riaz Haq said...

Asked about a “thaw” in India-Pakistan relations and Pakistan Army Chief Javed Qamar Bajwa’s remarks that India and Pakistan should “bury the past”, (Shiv Shankar) Menon called it “a fishing expedition”. He said Islamabad is motivated to know how much pressure India is under after what happened on the border with China.

The India-China relationship will be marked by “hard times” over the next five to 10 years, former national security advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon said Tuesday as he discussed his new book during an online event hosted by Harvard Kennedy School.

India now faces a China that is “in a hurry” to seize a moment of opportunity outlined in its global ambitions, Menon said during the event. “Xi Jinping sees China as central to Asia.”

However, he said India-China tensions won’t be permanent. “The fact is China is part of our neighborhood and on our periphery… it is never going to be a purely competitive adversarial relationship and it also never was a purely cooperative one. It swings between these two,” he explained.

India and China have been working to ease tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh since the Galwan border clash in June 2020. Last week, both sides held the 11th round of corp commander meeting at the Chushul-Mondo border.

Asked about a “thaw” in India-Pakistan relations and Pakistan Army Chief Javed Qamar Bajwa’s remarks that India and Pakistan should “bury the past”, Menon called it “a fishing expedition”. He said Islamabad is motivated to know how much pressure India is under after what happened on the border with China.

Asked about the formation of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, Menon observed that it has evolved beyond just a security dialogue. “As long as it was a security dialogue, it had a limited purpose. It ran the risk of when any one of the members pulled out or saw those security issues differently, the Quad itself would collapse. That’s what happened to it in 2008,” he said.

Initiated in 2007, the Quad is a strategic and security framework under the Indo-Pacific construct between the US, Japan, Australia and India. The Quad countries held their first summit-level meeting virtually on 12 March.

“Quad is not a closed shop. It can’t deal with the Indo-Pacific unless it involves other people in the Indo-Pacific,” said Menon. This does not mean the Quad must admit new members, but rather find new partners to work with, he added. The group should also be a “catalyst” for economically integrating Europe into the Southeast Asia region, he said.

On FONOP row
Commenting on the US Navy’s Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in India’s exclusive economic zone last week, which caused a row in India, Menon remarked: “We’ve just had a reminder that we [India and US] have slightly different interpretations of freedom and navigation and the law of the sea.”

He said there are other ways to enhance maritime security, adding: “I’m not sure that FONOPs is the way to go.”

High expectations for India-US relationship
Observing that the India-US relations are at an all-time peak, Menon said expectations are now high for the two countries. They must find “new directions” in this relationship given that the world is changing considerably, he said.

India and the US can do more on the bilateral front in terms of students and education, agriculture, technology and such areas that affect the lives of ordinary people, he said.

Asked about the role of “internal cohesion” in the US and India, Menon said democracy is “still a work in progress” in India. “The social contract, the fundamental political contract itself, is in the process of being renegotiated [in India],” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

#China’s #Trade Boom Continues in May on Strong Global Demand. #Exports to #India jumped more than 100% for the second straight month. Overseas demand for Chinese goods remained strong as economies from the U.K. to the U.S. emerged from months of lockdown

China’s exports continued to surge in May, although at a slower pace than the previous month, fueled by strong global demand as more economies around the world opened up. Imports soared, boosted by rising commodity prices.

Exports grew almost 28% in dollar terms in May from a year earlier, the customs administration said Monday, weaker than forecast and below the pace in April, but still well above historical growth rates. Imports soared 51.1%, the fastest pace since March 2010, leaving a trade surplus of $45.5 billion for the month.

Overseas demand for Chinese goods remained strong as economies from the U.K. to the U.S. emerged from months of lockdown. Exports to emerging markets like India and in Southeast Asia, which have seen a resurgence in Covid-19 outbreaks, also climbed. South Korea’s exports, a bellwether for world trade, surged the most since 1988 in May, a sign that the global recovery is strengthening.

“It’s still a fairly healthy set of numbers,” Jonathan Cavenagh, senior market strategist at Informa Global Markets, said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “We know that global demand is still recovering and that trend is likely to continue towards the end of the second quarter and into the third quarter as the major developed economies open up.”

Exports to the U.S. moderated, although still grew at a healthy pace of about 21% growth, while shipments to the European Union slowed to an almost 13% expansion. Purchases by Indian companies jumped more than 100% for the second straight month.

There was also a shift in categories driving export growth. Sales of household appliances and lighting grew, while there was a more than 41% drop of textile and fabric goods, which includes masks and protective clothing. These changes “seem to be consistent with our view that strengthening exports of non-Covid related products offset weakening exports of Covid-related products as global vaccination proceeds,” Goldman Sachs Group economists wrote in a note.