India’s smartphone sector has just scored a major victory over the Chinese smartphone brands. Till around two to three years ago, the Chinese smartphone brands were ruling the industry. India had become a big importer of mobile phones as Chinese smartphones flooded the market.
Yet, since 2017-2018, the Indian mobile industry has transformed from a net importer to a net exporter. The exports have leapfrogged from $200 million to $1.7 billion, whereas imports have gone down around seven times from $3.5 billion to $500 million over the same time period.
Why Chinese smartphone brands were popular in India:
The rise of Chinese smartphone brands in India was actually quite sudden. Indian mobile brands used to rule the market a few years ago. In 2015, they held a 43 per cent smartphone market share but by 2018, their market share got reduced to a single-digit share. The Chinese mobile brands ate into the market share of Indian smartphone makers.
Chinese smartphones used cheaper distribution methods like going completely online to reduce costs and reach buyers faster. For any Indian buyer who couldn’t afford something like an Apple iPhone, the Chinese android smartphone became the preferred choice.
Why Indians are dumping Chinese smartphones:
The monetary costs of a Chinese smartphone can be affordable. But it mines your data and puts it at serious risk. The lower prices are enabled by bloatware, which is a system of pre-installed apps on a smartphone. If you purchase such a mobile handset, you cannot uninstall or even disable such pre-installed apps without compromising on the functionality of your smartphone or exposing it to serious security risks.
The problem with pre-installed apps is that they consume extra space on your mobile and affect battery performance. More importantly, they have very access to your data, which can be easily misused. So, if you ordered a Chinese smartphone, it is possible that Xi Jinping ends up reading your personal conversations with the person you love.
Just kidding. You see, the CCP is not interested in poking his noses into your personal life. It just wants to spy on your bank accounts and other financial information.
Anyhow, this reason is good enough for a majority of Indians to dump their Chinese smartphones and pick up Indian smartphones instead.
Chinese smartphones use substandard and unsafe technology:
Chinese smartphones, just like any other product coming from the Middle Kingdom, do not offer anything in terms of technology and innovation. Chinese smartphone maker, Xiaomi, for example, has been known to copy heavily from Apple’s designs in the past.
And when there is not much innovation or technology infusion to back up a product, safety becomes a casualty. In 2021 alone, there have been a number of incidents involving Chinese smartphones. Two OnePlus Nord 2 mobiles, for example, blasted, and in one case, the victim was said to be in trauma after the accident.
Back in June, an Oppo A53 exploded inside its customer Jitender’s pocket. Jitender, an auto driver by profession, suffered an accident because of the explosion and fractured his foot. Similarly, in April, not one, but an entire lot of Vivo Y20 smartphones caught fire on an airport tarmac in Hong Kong and the exact reason behind the incident was not shared.
And this is just illustrative. There were other incidents also, involving smartphones of brands like Poco and Xiaomi.
So, Chinese smartphones may be cheap. But not many would want to risk physical safety and data security for monetary reasons. Don’t be surprised if the Indian smartphone industry is rising again, at the expense of the Chinese smartphone brands.