Transition: From Made in China to Make in India

Image source: Outlook India

The growing stand-off between the Indian Army and PLA (People’s Liberation Army of China) at the LAC, in the areas of Indian Union Territory of Ladakh, have added fuel to the anti-China narrative in India, which was at an all-time high due to the Corona-Virus Pandemic. Many public figures have come up supporting the cause of #boycottMadeinChina products. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his latest address to the nation, talked about ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ which translates to India becoming self-reliant. In his speech, PM Modi emphasized the importance of local supply chains, local products, and local markets. He gave the slogan “Go vocal for local”.

Sonam Wangchuk, the innovator from Ladakh, and a Ramon Magsaysay awardee, on whom the 3 idiots’ movie’s character of Aamir Khan is based on, has posted two videos online, appealing the masses to boycott Chinese apps and Chinese products step-wise which are viral in the social media. Online campaigns, videos, images, apps, twitter trends along with the PM’s speech points towards the mood of the public to use locally produced goods.

Consumers are confused between ‘Made in China Products’ and ‘Made in China Companies’. India as a nation of the world’s second-largest market needs to understand that products made by Multi-National Companies (read: Chinese companies) in India are still local products. Whenever these products get manufactured in India it gives employment opportunities to Indians, including women. If we Indians, start boycotting even locally manufactured products by foreign companies, big corporations of the world would think twice before investing in India, which we definitely do not want as a developing country.

Also, the intrusion of Made in China products in the works of our daily life is on such a great extent that it would be difficult for us as consumers to shift from Made in China products to Made in India products on an immediate basis.

Some of the aspects in which Indian products and manufacturing lack are listed below:

SKILLED LABOUR: China with the world’s largest population have an extremely large number of cheap and skilled labour which leads to a lower price of the product in the market. Skilling labour is very important in current times because of the high level of complexity in the products these days.

VAST ARRAY OF NATURAL RESOURCES: China is blessed to have large quantities of Natural resources, which are also very relevant to the world right now. For e.g. China has one of the world’s largest quantities of Lithium, which is used in the batteries of electronic products and these days vehicles as well. Electric vehicles have now started replacing the existing petrol and diesel vehicles due to climate change. As this trend will continue in the future, lithium can be termed as future oil.

COST: With large manufacturing facilities and good infrastructure, the Chinese manufactures are able to manufacture products at throwaway prices, which help them to eliminate the Indian product at the very first stage of the competition.

QUALITY: Given the scale of Chinese manufacturing, automation, and skilled labour in the last decade the products Made in China have a far superior quality than those Made in India.

QUANTITY: China manufactures goods in extremely large quantities given the power of cheap labour, automation and vast array of natural resources it has, which in turn leads to lowering the per-unit cost of the product in the international market.

INFRASTRUCTURE: In the last three-decade China is on an infrastructure building spree. A government initiative of China in the 90s to connect the country by expressways known as the ‘National Trunk Highways System’ has expanded the network to about 149,600 km by the end of 2019. Seaports, airports, dedicated high-speed freight corridors, high-speed railway networks in China have led to easier transport of goods across the country and across the world.

AUTOMATION: As China became the global manufacturing hub in the last three decades, it has achieved a high level of automation in the manufacturing of the goods leading to better quality and more quantity of goods with no room for error as it lacks the human touch.

Sonam Wangchuk’s idea of a stepwise move from Made in China products to Made in India products appreciable and widely supported. Stepwise transition is the only way out for the Indians in this ‘market-war’. Government is already taking up steps to fill the gaps in manufacturing. Skill India mission along with PMKVY (Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna) is helping with skilling of the cheap labour in India. ‘Bharatmala Pariyojna’ aims at achieving 83.667 km of new highways in India, along with it various expressways have been announced by the government to remove any existing obstacle in the supply chains.

Changes we can see

Seeing the opportunity, India offered vast areas of land to the manufacturers leaving China after the Covid-19 pandemic. World’s biggest electronics giant Apple, is looking to shift 1/5th of its business from China to India, aiming to export $40 billion worth smartphones in the next 4 years. German shoe company Von Wellx is relocating its entire operations from China to India.

It will be a slow transition for not only India, but also the world to shift from Made in China goods to Made in India goods, but surely and definitely if we take one baby step at a time India, Indians, and Made in India products can win this ‘market-war’ against China.



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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Nikhil Kohli

Nikhil Kohli is a Student of Masters in Defence and Strategic Studies at Punjabi University, India

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