Chinese smartphone maker Oppo cancelled a live online launch of its flagship smartphone in India today, hours after a dispute broke out between the two countries at the border. The company had earlier scheduled a launch for 4pm IST, but later changed that to a 20-minute video announcing the phone.
A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that the decision was taken to “avoid any possible uproar on social media” from consumers who have been calling for Chinese products to be boycotted in the country.
Many in India have been calling for the boycott of Chinese products lately, a sentiment that has seemed to grow ever since the covid-19 pandemic broke out in the country. The sentiments are expected to grow now, since the two countries are tussling at the border.
While Chinese smartphone makers usually try to ignore such outrage here, they do seem to be taking note this time. Realme, which is owned by BBK Electronics, the same parent company as Oppo, had taken to YouTube yesterday to talk about its commitment to India. In a series called Ask Madhav, Realme’s India CEO, Madhav Seth, called the company an “Indian startup, which is not a global multinational corporation”.
On June 3, Poco, which is an offshoot of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, put out a tweet on similar lines. “With a dream of serving Indian consumers, @IndiaPoco was born 2 years ago in Delhi, India,” the company said in the tweet. Poco was originally a sub-brand of Xiaomi India, but operates independently now. The tweet goes on to say how the company “took ahead” the Make In India through products and services “crafted for India”
The anti-China sentiments in the country have not just been spread on social media either. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had announced a national campaign to boycott Chinese goods in the country on June 10. CAIT is the apex trade body in India and represents 7 crore traders and 40,000 trade associations in India.
We have written to Oppo for a statement on the matter. The story will be updated to reflect the same when the company responds.