On June 26, Xiaomi began updating the front faces of its offline stores in India, covering the xiaomi logo with the slogan "Made in India." However, just a day later, Xiaomi's move in India was bombarded by interests.
The Federation of Indian Traders (CAIT) blasted Xiaomi's Head of Indian marketing, Manu Kumar Jain, on June 27 for his "Made in India" statement, which it said was politically insensitive and disrespectful to the Indian people. CAIT accused Jain of trying to please his Chinese boss by playing down the mood, "in stark contrast to the current national spirit". CAIT argued that Jain had hurt the feelings of millions of Indians by declaring that "boycott Chinese products" were restricted to social networks. Coincidentally, Shree Das, xiaomi's head of public relations in India, left the company after a border clash.
CAIT is the driving force behind India's recent "boycott of Chinese products" campaign. CAIT claims to represent 70 million businessmen and 40, 000 trade associations. It had previously compiled a list of 3,000 Chinese products that could be replaced by Indian ones. One of their campaign goals is to reduce India's trade deficit with China by $13bn by December 2021.
In an interview with CNBC-TV18 on June 24, Jain stressed that nearly all Xiaomi phones sold in India and most smart TVS are made locally, with 65 percent of the components sourced locally. Xiaomi India is led entirely by Indians, creating jobs for 50,000 people and keeping 100% of the data of Indian users in India.
"There are some so-called Indian companies that actually buy phones from China and sell them in India under brand names. We are actually more Indian than they are." Jain said.
Xiaomi Is more local than any other Chinese brand. It even has a personal investment from Ratan Tata, the former chairman of the Tata Group and India's most respected entrepreneur.
In a June 24 tweet, Jain said xiaomi's redmi Note9 Pro Max sold out in less than 50 seconds. He said anti-China sentiment was largely confined to social media and had not affected his business in India.
Amid tensions on the India-China border, the All India Mobile Retail Association (AIMRA) has written to Chinese mobile phone brands warning that some offline stores could be damaged amid calls for a boycott of Chinese products. Arvinder Khurana, the association's President, advised brands to find cloth or boards to temporarily cover the original logo, or simply remove the boards for a while.
Four of India's top five smartphone brands (Xiaomi, Vivo, OPPO, Realme) are from China. In the first quarter of 2020, shipments of four Chinese brands accounted for nearly 73 per cent of the Indian smartphone market, according to data released by Canalys. No. 3 Samsung, with 18.9 percent of shipments, was the only non-Chinese brand in the top five.