India’s crackdown on Chinese firms and mobile apps is “becoming increasingly unhinged,” and the action is nothing but “politically-motivated crackdowns on businesses from China”, state-run Chinese paper Global Times has said.
The Indian government this week banned 54 Chinese mobile applications, which are posing a threat to national security. The Income Tax department on Wednesday also carried out raids at multiple premises linked to Chinese tech conglomerate Huawei across the country in connection with alleged tax evasion.
The Global Times said in an editorial that after failing to gain any advantage by stirring up tension at the border with China, which drew stern responses from Chinese soldiers, “New Delhi has shifted its out-of-control jingoism toward a more vulnerable target – Chinese businesses operating in India”.
“Over the past several months, Indian authorities have banned dozens of Chinese mobile apps and raided local branches of many Chinese firms in shady ‘tax investigations’,” the editorial said late on Thursday.
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Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies confirmed earlier media reports that Indian tax authorities raided multiple offices of the firm and questioned its local employees.
In a statement, Huawei said that it was confident that its operations in the South Asian country “are firmly compliant with all laws and regulations” and that it would “fully cooperate” with Indian authorities.
“Huawei’s response is standard for any business caught in such circumstances; however, let’s be clear, Indian authorities’ raid most likely has nothing to do with the Chinese firm’s compliance issues, but has a great deal to do with the increasing hostility of officials in New Delhi toward China,” read the editorial.
Before Huawei, several Chinese companies, including smartphone maker Xiaomi, have already been targeted. In January, Xiaomi was ordered to pay 6.53 billion rupees ($87.8 million) for unpaid taxes alleged by the Indian authorities, claimed the editorial.
Last month, multiple tax raids were carried out at the country’s premises of Chinese smartphone makers.
The Finance Ministry issued a statement, saying that Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi’s local company in India had engaged in “tax evasion” and demanded that it pay a total of Rs 6.53 billion ($88 million) in taxes owed between April 2017 and June 2020.
Xiaomi denied the claim, saying that the company adheres to legal and compliant operations around the world and abides with the relevant laws and regulations of each jurisdiction in which it operates.
Chinese mobile phone brands are highly popular in the Indian market, and their market share far exceeds that of local Indian brands.
According to the editorial, Chinese officials have expressed concern over Indian authorities’ actions against Chinese businesses and have repeatedly called on the Indian side to treat Chinese firms fairly.
Commenting on India’s latest raid of Huawei offices and bans on Chinese apps, a spokesperson for the Chinese Commerce Ministry on Thursday mounted a noticeably stronger response, calling the actions “a series of crackdown measures” that have seriously harmed the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese firms.
“For that, China expresses serious concern,” the spokesperson said.
“However, though New Delhi appears to be constantly testing China’s patience, Chinese officials have and will likely continue to avoid being dragged into tit-for-tat measures with India,” read the editorial.
“With this, we believe China will take necessary measures to protect Chinese interests overseas wherever they face discriminatory actions.”