Safety concerns, higher rate of visa denials cause minor impact: experts
Business operations of Chinese companies in India have remained largely unaffected by an ongoing military stand-off on the China-Bhutan border, with no major halt or change of plans announced so far, several Chinese business representatives said on Tuesday.
But many Chinese workers in India have grown concerned about their security after a couple of incidents against Chinese citizens, and some have reported a higher rate of being denied entrance or business visas, causing minor inconveniences.
"We haven't been impacted at the moment," Lü Qingyong, head of Indian operations for Sichuan Jinwangtong Electronic Science and Technology Co, told the Global Times.
He said that operations at his company's factory in the New Delhi area that makes cable TV devices for Indian carriers remained normal, "because our main clients are carriers rather than end consumers."
Beijing Shareit Information Technology Co also said that its utility app SHAREit, a widely popular app in India for file-sharing, has not been affected.
"Actually we are not worried too much about the current situation," the company said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Tuesday.
The app has gained more than 300 million users in India, accounting for one-third of its more than 1 billion users around the world, said the statement.
Shareit stated that its commitment to bring better products and services to the Indian market has not changed.
Hu Tu, secretary general of the Bangalore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, also said though there is no Chinese company that reported a complete halt to their operations in India, there might be some minor delays or concerns over the situation.
"Most companies might be slowing their business and watching the situation closely, but they wouldn't announce anything negative just yet," Hu told the Global Times Tuesday. "It's natural that there are some people who delay their return to India [from China] or some companies delay some of their unimportant businesses."
Hu and others said that there are some workers who are worried about their safety, given the tense relationship between the two countries, especially following two recent violent incidents involving Chinese citizens.
A Chinese businessman identified as Yan, who was there to close a business deal, was attacked by five assailants in Bangalore on Saturday, and earlier on Thursday in New Delhi, another China-based businessman was robbed, according to Indian media outlets.
But despite these high profile reports, Lü hasn't noticed any impact so far, except "a bit of a mood swing among some workers."
Hu said that such incidents take places from time to time. "But in such a sensitive time, it's a bit more serious in nature," he said.
Hu said another factor that could cause delays at some companies is "a higher than normal rate" of Chinese citizens being denied entrance to India or denied a business visa.
Despite the tense situation on the border and calls for boycotting Chinese products in the country, the Indian government has maintained a "relatively positive" stance toward businesses, according to a Chinese businessman, who has been helping Chinese firms in the Indian market for nearly a decade.
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Global Times on Tuesday that calls for a boycott will be contained to a limited scale, because "the [Indian] government is very pragmatic, [and knows a] resurgence of such voices in the country isn't conducive to solving the issue."
However, the boycott could affect sales of Chinese consumer goods, such as smartphones, experts said.
Chinese smartphone brands captured a 51 percent share in the Indian market in the second quarter of 2017, with brands like Xiaomi, Vivo and OPPO all reporting sales increases, India Today reported on Tuesday.
"Companies like OPPO and Vivo that directly face consumers might be affected a little," the businessman said.
Chinese and Indian officials participated in a meeting of the BRICS trade ministers on Tuesday in Shanghai, and the situation was not mentioned.
China's Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said at the meeting that BRICS countries must strengthen trade cooperation and oppose all kinds of protectionism amidst global economic instability.