Several Indian smartphone brands have downplayed suggestions they could capitalise on the anti-Chinese sentiments that have erupted in the wake of border clashes in the Ladakh region of Kashmir.

A June 15 confrontation between India and Chinese troops saw casualties on both sides, with 20 Indian soldiers killed and 76 injured and 45 Chinese soldiers reported killed or injured.

As talks seek to defuse tension in the region, emotions are running high in consumer India, with calls to boycott Chinese-made goods – and well-known smartphone brands are among those that could suffer.

The Chamber of Trade & Industry was among those calling for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to end the Indian Premier League’s title sponsorship deal with Vivo, for example, threatening a trader boycott of the tournament (provisionally rescheduled from March to September because of COVID-19) if no action is taken.

While BCCI treasurer Arun Dhuma made it clear last week there was no such plan, pressure mounted at the weekend with a tweet announcing, apparently unilaterally and possibly under government pressure, that a review would take place this week. And this week it has been reported that the two sides are negotiating a way for Vivo to exit amicably.

Indian smartphone brands are alert to the possibilities of a revival in their fortunes – Karbonn Mobiles, Lava International and Micromax are all reported to be launching new models – but they don’t see that happening just because of a consumer boycott.

“Indian handset makers need low-cost funds to counter the deep-pocketed Chinese companies,” according to Abhishek Garg, executive director of the Jaina Group, which owns the Karbonn brand, who called for government intervention.

Hari Om Rai, a founder and managing director of Lava International, was more circumspect. “These short-term emotions will die down quickly; finally we have to beat our competition by delivering products which provide a much better proposition than our competitors,” he said in remarks reported by the Business Standard.

Sourced from NDTV, Inside Sport, Hindustan Times, Outlook India, Business Today, Business Standard