Published: 15:47, February 18, 2022 | Updated: 15:47, February 18, 2022
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India urged to treat Chinese tech enterprises fairly
By Ma Si

File photo shows the entrance to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, capital of China. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

China's Ministry of Commerce on Thursday urged India to improve its business environment and treat all foreign investors, including Chinese companies, in a fair, transparent and nondiscriminatory manner.

The comments came after media reported that India has blocked access to 54 mobile apps, mainly Chinese ones, over alleged security risks, and India's income tax authorities have conducted searches at multiple premises of Chinese companies as part of tax investigations.

Gao Feng, a ministry spokesman, said the Indian authorities concerned have taken a series of measures to suppress Chinese companies and their products in India, which seriously damages the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.

"China expressed serious concern about this," Gao said, adding that the ministry has noticed that foreign investors, including Chinese companies, are also increasingly concerned about the investment climate in India.

Foreign investors have created a large number of employment opportunities in India and made positive contributions to India's economic development, Gao said.

He said China and India are inseparable neighbors and important economic and trade partners. In 2021, bilateral trade volume between the two countries reached $125.7 billion, a year-on-year increase of 43 percent.

"Economic and trade cooperation between the two countries has strong resilience and great potential. It is hoped that the Indian side can take concrete measures to maintain the sound development momentum of bilateral economic and trade cooperation and to benefit the two countries," Gao added.

Indian tax authorities have conducted searches at multiple premises of Chinese companies including Huawei Technologies Co, Xiaomi Corp and Oppo as part of tax investigations.

Huawei said on Thursday that it is confident that the company's operations in India firmly comply with all laws and regulations, and the company will approach the government departments concerned for more information and fully cooperate as per the rules and regulations, and follow the right procedures.

In January, India's Ministry of Finance said in a statement that it had asked the local unit of Xiaomi to pay 6.53 billion rupees ($87.80 million) in import taxes after it said an investigation found that the company had evaded some duties.

Xiaomi said the root cause of the tax issue is that the parties have different opinions on the price determination of imported goods, adding that the statement is not the final result and it will continue to communicate with the Indian authorities concerned on the matter.

Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, a telecom industry association, said Chinese smartphone vendors are very popular in the Indian market, and provide jobs for many locals.

Market research company Canalys said Xiaomi was the top smartphone vendor in India in the fourth quarter, with shipments of 9.3 million units.