Despite a nearly 73-day long standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam last year, a “mature approach” from corporate communities of both the sides ensured continuity in business. Speaking to The Indian Express, Chinese telecom equipment and smartphone maker Huawei’s India CEO Jay Chen said that the business has received support from all departments of India’s government.
“Apart from the Doklam issue — before and after that, the relations between the two countries is good. Even during the Doklam issue, two sides were very conservative and held themselves nicely. There was no cancellations. They held themselves very nicely with a very mature approach (by the businesses). After that, two countries took the mature approach, sat down and talked, found the mutual point. Currently, you can say that Chinese government opened up the pharmacy and rice market to India. First time, shipment of rice from India reached China market. Chinese are happy to have India’s pharmaceutical products to China, which are very cost effective,” Chen said.
Following the disengagement of border personnel at Doklam that had happened in August 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited China in April this year for an informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. This visit was perceived as a big positive for Chinese companies investing in India as the two governments attempted to reset bilateral ties. Notably, between April 2000 and December 2017, a meagre $1.78 billion has come into India by the way of foreign direct investment from its northern neighbour.
Notwithstanding the thaw in Indo-China relations after Doklam issue, Huawei India has seen a chill in its business that has witnessed intense competition over the last two years. Chen said that telecom companies that are competing tooth and nail to retain their customer base, are passing on their cost pressures to the equipment maker, which has seen its profitability being impacted.
“Business is OK. Our profitability is very bad. Industry is terrible, it is in a really bad shape. If they (telecom operators) are not good, I am in trouble. Sales and revenue is OK but profitability is a challenge,” Chen said.
When asked for how long would these troubles last, he said: “I think nobody can forecast but I can tell you that situation will get more serious in one year. If operators cannot make profit, what can you expect.”
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