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Tech

Microsoft Joins Growing Facebook, Instagram Ad Boycott Over Concerns of Inappropriate Content

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

Microsoft, however, has not announced its participation in the broader advertisement boycott campaign joined by over 100 brands.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 30, 2020, 10:44 AM IST

Microsoft which spent more than $115 million on Facebook ads last year is reportedly pausing advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. According to a report in Axios on Tuesday, the Windows maker is concerned about ads running alongside “inappropriate content” such as hate speech and pornography.

The software giant, however, has not announced its participation in the broader ad boycott campaign joined by over 100 brands. Microsoft had suspended its advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the US in May. “Microsoft is concerned about where its ads are shown, not Facebook’s policies. But the move still means yet another big advertiser is not spending on Facebook right now,” said the report citing internal Microsoft posts. Microsoft was yet to make the move official.

“Based on concerns we had back in May we suspended all media spending on Facebook/Instagram in the US and we’ve subsequently suspended all spending on Facebook/Instagram worldwide,” Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela reportedly said in an internal post on enterprise social network Yammer. “The timeline on resuming our media spending is dependent on the positive actions they take, but I expect our pause will continue through August,” Capossela added. Microsoft earlier paused spending on Google’s YouTube over similar concerns.


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Tech

Facebook to Start Flagging Problematic Posts from Politicians as Ad Boycott Grows

As more advertisers pull out of its platform over poor handling of hate speech and misinformation, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Saturday that the social network will put warning labels on all posts that break its rules but are deemed newsworthy. The announcement came after several top-notch advertisers like Coca-Cola, Hershey and Honda joined over 100 brands who have decided to boycott advertising on Facebook.

Facebook’s decision now opens the door to label controversial posts by US President Donald Trump. Twitter has already flagged a couple of his controversial tweets while Facebook is facing widespread criticism for its inaction over Trump posts that glorified violence in the aftermath of the death of African-American George Floyd.

Zuckerberg said that they will soon start labelling some of the content we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case. “We’ll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content because this is an important part of how we discuss what’s acceptable in our society — but we’ll add a prompt to tell people that the content they’re sharing may violate our policies,” he explained.

There is no newsworthiness exemption to content that incites violence or suppresses voting. “Even if a politician or government official says it, if we determine that content may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote, we will take that content down,” Zuckerberg said adding that there are no exceptions for “politicians in any of the policies I’m announcing here today”.

Earlier, telecom carrier Verizon announced to pull ads from Facebook and Instagram, joining advertisers like apparel brand North Face, ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s, outdoor apparel stores REI and Patagonia, freelancing platform Upwork, shipping company Local Postal, password manager Dashlane and outwear company Arc’teryx to boycott the social network. Facebook makes about 98 per cent of its $70 billion annual revenue from advertising. Zuckerberg also detailed plans to tighten policies ahead of the 2020 elections.

“Since the most dangerous voter suppression campaigns can be local and run in the days immediately before an election, we’re going to use our Elections Operations Center to quickly respond and remove false claims about polling conditions in the 72 hours leading into election day,” announced the Facebook CEO. He said that Facebook will also ban posts that make false claims saying ICE agents are checking for immigration papers at polling places, which is a tactic used to discourage voting.


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Tech

Facebook to Label All Rule-breaking Posts, Even Trump's, as Ad Boycott Erases $50 Billion Value

Facebook has said that it will flag all “newsworthy” posts from politicians that break its rules, including those from President Donald Trump.

Separately, Facebook’s stock dropped more than 8 per cent, erasing roughly USD 50 billion from its market valuation, after the European company behind brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and Dove announced it would boycott Facebook ads through the end of the year over the amount of hate speech and divisive rhetoric on its platform. Later in the day, Coca-Cola also announced it joined the boycott for at least 30 days.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg had previously refused to take action against Trump posts suggesting that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud, saying that people deserved to hear unfiltered statements from political leaders. Twitter, by contrast, slapped a “get the facts” label on them.

Until Friday, Trump’s posts with identical wording to those labelled on Twitter remained untouched on Facebook, sparking criticism from Trump’s opponents as well as current and former Facebook employees.

Now, Facebook is all but certain to face off with the president the next time he posts something the company deems to be violating its rules.

“The policies we’re implementing today are designed to address the reality of the challenges our country is facing and how they’re showing up across our community,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page announcing the changes.

Zuckerberg said the social network is taking additional steps to counter election-related misinformation.

In particular, the social network will begin adding new labels to all posts about voting that will direct users to authoritative information from state and local election officials.

Facebook is also banning false claims intended to discourage voting, such as stories about federal agents checking legal status at polling places.

The company also said it is increasing its enforcement capacity to remove false claims about local polling conditions in the 72 hours before the US election.

Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Civic Media, said the changes are a “reminder of how powerful Facebook may be in terms of spreading disinformation during the upcoming election”.

He said the voting labels will depend on how good Facebook’s artificial intelligence is at identifying posts to label.

“If every post that mentions voting links, people will start ignoring those links. If they’re targeted to posts that say things like ‘Police will be checking warrants and unpaid traffic tickets at polls’ a classic voter suppression disinfo tactic and clearly mark posts as disinformation, they might be useful,” he said.

But Zuckerman noted that Facebook “has a history of trying hard not to alienate right-leaning users, and given how tightly President Trump has aligned himself with voter-suppressing misinfo, it seems likely that Facebook will err on the side of non-intrusive and ignorable labels, which would minimize impact of the campaign.”

Earlier in the day, shares of Facebook and Twitter dropped sharply after consumer-product maker Unilever announced a new ad boycott on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram through at least the end of the year.

The European company said it took the move to protest the amount of hate speech online.

Unilever said the polarised atmosphere in the United States ahead of November’s presidential election placed responsibility on brands to act.

In addition to the decline in Facebook shares, Twitter ended the day more than 7 per cent lower.

Unilever, which is based in the Netherlands and Britain, joins a raft of other advertisers pulling back from online platforms.

Facebook in particular has been the target of an escalating movement to withhold advertising dollars to pressure it to do more to prevent racist and violent content from being shared on its platform.

“We have decided that starting now through at least the end of the year, we will not run brand advertising in social media newsfeed platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S.,” Unilever said.

“Continuing to advertise on these platforms at this time would not add value to people and society.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Thursday, Verizon joined others in the Facebook boycott. Unilever “has enough influence to persuade other brand advertisers to follow its lead,” said eMarketer analyst Nicole Perrin.

She noted that Unilever pulled back spending “for longer, on more platforms (including Twitter) and for more expansive reasons” in particular, by citing problems with “divisiveness” as well as hate speech.

Sarah Personette, vice president of global client solutions at Twitter, said the company’s “mission is to serve the public conversation and ensure Twitter is a place where people can make human connections, seek and receive authentic and credible information, and express themselves freely and safely.”

She added that Twitter is “respectful of our partners’ decisions and will continue to work and communicate closely with them during this time.”


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Tech

Xiaomi Stores Erect Made In India Banners: Claims Boycott China Trends Won't Hit Business

The recently flared up geopolitical tensions between India and China has brought the focus back on the Chinese tech companies operating in the country, particularly the very popular smartphone brands. It is perhaps understandable that the likes of Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Realme and OnePlus are operating with a sense of trepidation. If reports are to be believed, Xiaomi is hiding the Mi branding at some of its physical stores with the “Make in India” banners. This comes after the All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) sent a letter to the Chinese phone makers, including Xiaomi, suggesting that toning down the branding or hiding it in the face of potential violence by miscreants. News18 has reached out to Xiaomi India for a comment and we will update this story.

“Damage to these boards should not be the retailer’s liability as the circumstances are not in our hands or in our control,” says the letter written by the AIMRA, as reported by The Economic Times. There is the fear that anti-China protests could turn violent, and the physical stores as well as employees working at these stores would be targeted. Xiaomi insists that these sentiments will not impact Xiaomi’s India businesses. “I don’t think this will impact our business in a major way,” Manu Kumar Jain, Global VP at Xiaomi and MD at Xiaomi India, told CNBCTV18. Jain has some robust facts to share. Xiaomi’s research and development center is in India, the phone manufacturing happens in India and Xiaomi has more than 50,000 people working through its ecosystem in the country.

According to data by Counterpoint Research, the Chinese smartphone makers account for a combined 81% share of the Indian smartphone market

Xiaomi entered India in July 2014 with the then very popular Mi 3 smartphone. The company pushed for local production and a year later, started producing phones as part of the Make In India initiative, at Taiwanese company Foxconn’s plant in Andhra Pradesh. In November last year, the company said that 99% of all phones they sell in India, are made in India. “About 99 per cent of the phones sold in India are made in the country. We make three phones per second,” Muralikrishnan B, Chief Operating Officer, Xiaomi India, had said in an official statement at the time. Xiaomi is also exporting phones made in India, to countries including Nepal and Bangladesh.

At this time, Xiaomi has 7 smartphone manufacturing plants in India, producing the Mi and the Redmi range of smartphones. Combined, they roll out 3 phones per second. Xiaomi says that more than 30,000 people are employed in the factories across India. Xiaomi has a strong ecosystem play, and Mi TVs as well as power banks are a part of that—both of these products are also manufactured in India.

At this time, Xiaomi has 7 smartphone manufacturing plants in India, employing more than 30,000 people

Could it just be that this admittedly noisy anti-China sentiment is emerging from a limited demographic? Numbers tell their own tale. Xiaomi says that just yesterday, June 24, they sold out the entire stock of the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max, which went on sale at noon, in 50 seconds. Earlier this week, the OnePlus put up the OnePlus 8 Pro for sale and it also sold out the entire stock in minutes.

According to data by Counterpoint Research, the Chinese smartphone makers account for a combined 81% share of the Indian smartphone market.

Xiaomi says that just yesterday, June 24, they sold out the entire stock of the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max, which went on sale at noon, in 50 seconds


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Tech

Can India Truly Manufacture Smartphones As Well As Components And Complete Boycott China?

It has been simmering for a while now but the latest round of tensions between the Indian and Chinese military over the past few weeks, coupled with the narrative around India’s economic situation, has again given rise to widespread sentiments around boycotting Chinese products. It isn’t new, because we have been here before. Yet, the focus on Make in India now comes with renewed vigor. With India’s smartphone market being one of the most attractive in the world, it certainly takes the spotlight.

The smartphone manufacturers had responded positively to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ call in September 2014, to unveil local manufacturing plans. Pretty much every popular smartphone brand now makes phones in India. However, as India stands at a critical economic and political juncture, completely removing China’s influence in the heavily valued segment still seems like a tall task, even though numerous brands have claimed otherwise.

Almost all the major components for manufacturing a smartphone are sourced from China, and are only assembled in India

The Difference Between Making And Assembling

“India has graduated from a SKD (Semi Knocked-Down)-type manufacturing, to CKD (Completely Knocked-Down). However, all the major components (for manufacturing a smartphone) are sourced from China, and are only assembled in India. The three most important components of manufacturing a phone are chipset, memory and display, of which the first two require high-end technology, uninterrupted water and electricity supply, and very skilled manpower to run the automated machines in a closed and vacuumed environment,” says Upasana Joshi, lead analyst for mobile phones, India and South Asia at IDC.

It is this that acts as a critical roadblock for India’s local manufacturing ambitions. As Joshi adds, “Dependency for these key components remains, and shall remain on Taiwan, Korea or China for at least the next few years. Currently, only parts like batteries, chargers, packaging materials etc are locally sourced.”

Make in India, circa 2014

If India still remains so largely dependent on China for its smartphones, then what has our Make in India initiative’s achievements been, till date? Data from IDC states that over the past six years, local production of phones has evolved from 40 percent of SKD units, to about 95 percent assembling of CKD units. For reference, SKD refers to units that were fully assembled in an outside market, then taken apart and imported as parts, only to be put back together at a local plant. CKD, on the other hand, is a more local process where the components are sourced from outside, following which a host of local operations are undertaken to produce the final, working product.

To understand what this implies, think of how local assembling plants of foreign automobile giants such as BMW operate in India – while the engine and the chassis frame are imported as whole, everything is put together here, locally. This allows a brand to save significantly on heavy import duties, which comes into effect if a product is imported as a completely built unit (CBU). This is something that Apple’s iPhones have been largely exposed to.

It is this that has been the biggest impact of India’s local manufacturing push. Samsung, the second largest smartphone OEM in India by quarterly shipments, in 2018 unveiled the world’s largest mobile manufacturing factory in Noida, India. By the end of 2020, Samsung aims to assemble as many as 120 million units every year, eventually meeting targets to export units from India to Samsung’s other markets.

Xiaomi, which overtook Samsung to take the top spot in Indian smartphone shipments in January 2018, claims to now have seven manufacturing facilities in the country. In November 2019, Muralikrishnan B, chief operating officer of Xiaomi India, claimed that 99 percent of the phones that Xiaomi sells in the country are locally built, according to a report by Business Standard. He further stated that Xiaomi has also begun exporting devices to Bangladesh and Nepal, albeit in limited quantities.

Samsung, the second largest smartphone OEM in India by quarterly shipments, in 2018 unveiled the world’s largest mobile manufacturing factory in Noida

Taking note

India, hence, is a smartphone assembly hub for its own devices today, which harks back to Joshi’s insight that for sourcing of essential components, India remains dependent on nations such as China. Given the nature of these components, this dependence is likely to continue for at least the immediate future. The government has taken cognisance of this matter, as well.

Earlier this month, India unveiled a Rs 50,000 crore package targeting the five largest global smartphone makers operating in the country, with performance-linked incentives (PLI) that involve cash benefits depending on meeting local sourcing, manufacturing and sales targets. This, as Ravi Shankar Prasad, union minister for electronics, IT and communications projected, “could help India produce smartphones and components worth 10 trillion rupees ($133 billion) by 2025,” as stated in a previous News18 report.

Focusing on this, IDC’s Joshi says that while the road ahead is long, the benefits are there to see. As she says, “Locally sourced parts for manufacturing devices would require huge investments by ecosystem players, but the benefits will be multifold as well – saving upfront import duty cost (which varies from 15-22 percent depending on the type of imports), exporting locally-manufactured devices to other parts of the world, earning through export subsidies and evolving as independent entities are some.”

However, Joshi also highlights the real problem at hand here. “We are still very far away from replacing China as a manufacturing hub, owing to multiple fundamental challenges faced – scarcity of essential resources like water and electricity, logistics, long term investments with dedicated arena for R&D, skilled manpower and hubs to promote production with sharing of resources are a few,” she adds.

With this in sight, can we actually ban China’s influence on products sold in India, in the entirety? Right now, the challenge seems tall, for it would require all-round and intensive investments to develop an advanced manufacturing industry, the likes of which do not exist in our country right now. For the immediate future, assembling in India is what seems to be the way forward.

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4 in 10 Indians Want to Boycott Chinese Smartphones, Survey Reveals

Representative image. (Photo: Telenor)

Representative image. (Photo: Telenor)

More than half of the respondents from India have a negative attitude towards Made-in-China products or Chinese smartphone brands, the survey said.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: June 20, 2020, 10:21 AM IST

The growing anti-China sentiment in India may hurt Chinese smartphone makers hard as a survey on Friday revealed that four in ten respondents said that they will not buy Made-in-China products or smartphones from Chinese brands. Overall, more than half of the respondents from India have a negative attitude towards Made-in-China products or Chinese smartphone brands, according to the Global Consumer Lens study by Counterpoint Research.

This survey was conducted before the India-China faceoff at Line of Actual Control in the Galwan valley of Ladakh The researchers explored consumer sentiment about smartphones manufactured in China as the Wuhan region was the starting point of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The study was conducted across seven major smartphone markets – the UK, India, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the US. The anti-China sentiment is highest among Indian consumers, said the study.

Similarly, about one-fifth of respondents from the US preferred not to buy Made-in-China products even though in the era of globalisation, it is difficult to label a product as “Chinese” as its components are sourced across different regions. The research showed that in India, 16 per cent Indian consumers want to cut spending by 20 per cent when making their next smartphone purchase. Respondents planning to wait before buying are the highest in India — 61 per cent.

The research found similar intentions in Spain and Italy where 58 per cent and 56 per cent of respondents, respectively, planned to wait longer before replacing their smartphones. In the US, the number intending to delay buying was 41 per cent. Germany had the fewest respondents planning to delay purchasing – 34 per cent. Consumers intending to cut their future smartphone purchase budget by 20 per cent or more are highest in Spain (27 per cent) and Italy (25 per cent), followed by the US (24 per cent).

In India, half the respondents are intending to spend between Rs 10,000-Rs 20,000, said the study. The survey which involved over 1,000 respondents from India was conducted across different countries from mid of May to the first week of June.


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Can India Boycott China and Make Phones Locally? Yes, But It's a Long, Arduous Journey

In recent times, political conditions coupled with India’s economic situation has given rise to widespread sentiments around boycotting Chinese products. With India’s smartphone market being one of the most attractive in the world, manufacturers naturally heeded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ call in September 2014, to unveil local manufacturing plans. However, as India stands at a critical economic and political juncture, completely removing China’s influence in the heavily valued segment still seems like a tall task, even though numerous brands have claimed otherwise.

The critical roadblock

“India has graduated from a SKD (Semi Knocked-Down)-type manufacturing, to CKD (Completely Knocked-Down). However, all the major components (for manufacturing a smartphone) are sourced from China, and are only assembled in India. The three most important components of manufacturing a phone are chipset, memory and display, of which the first two require high-end technology, uninterrupted water and electricity supply, and very skilled manpower to run the automated machines in a closed and vacuumed environment,” says Upasana Joshi, lead analyst for mobile phones, India and South Asia at IDC.

It is this that acts as a critical roadblock for India’s local manufacturing ambitions. As Joshi adds, “Dependency for these key components remains, and shall remain on Taiwan, Korea or China for at least the next few years. Currently, only parts like batteries, chargers, packaging materials etc are locally sourced.”

Make in India, circa 2014

If India still remains so largely dependent on China for its smartphones, then what has our Make in India initiative’s achievements been, till date? Data from IDC states that over the past six years, local production of phones has evolved from 40 percent of SKD units, to about 95 percent assembling of CKD units. For reference, SKD refers to units that were fully assembled in an outside market, then taken apart and imported as parts, only to be put back together at a local plant. CKD, on the other hand, is a more local process where the components are sourced from outside, following which a host of local operations are undertaken to produce the final, working product.

To understand what this implies, think of how local assembling plants of foreign automobile giants such as BMW operate in India – while the engine and the chassis frame are imported as whole, everything is put together here, locally. This allows a brand to save significantly on heavy import duties, which comes into effect if a product is imported as a completely built unit (CBU). This is something that Apple’s iPhones have been largely exposed to.

It is this that has been the biggest impact of India’s local manufacturing push. Samsung, the second largest smartphone OEM in India by quarterly shipments, in 2018 unveiled the world’s largest mobile manufacturing factory in Noida, India. By the end of 2020, Samsung aims to assemble as many as 120 million units every year, eventually meeting targets to export units from India to Samsung’s other markets.

Xiaomi, which overtook Samsung to take the top spot in Indian smartphone shipments in January 2018, claims to now have seven manufacturing facilities in the country. In November 2019, Muralikrishnan B, chief operating officer of Xiaomi India, claimed that 99 percent of the phones that Xiaomi sells in the country are locally built, according to a report by Business Standard. He further stated that Xiaomi has also begun exporting devices to Bangladesh and Nepal, albeit in limited quantities.

Taking note

India, hence, is a smartphone assembly hub for its own devices today, which harks back to Joshi’s insight that for sourcing of essential components, India remains dependent on nations such as China. Given the nature of these components, this dependence is likely to continue for at least the immediate future. The government has taken cognisance of this matter, as well.

Earlier this month, India unveiled a Rs 50,000 crore package targeting the five largest global smartphone makers operating in the country, with performance-linked incentives (PLI) that involve cash benefits depending on meeting local sourcing, manufacturing and sales targets. This, as Ravi Shankar Prasad, union minister for electronics, IT and communications projected, “could help India produce smartphones and components worth 10 trillion rupees ($133 billion) by 2025,” as stated in a previous News18 report.

Focusing on this, IDC’s Joshi says that while the road ahead is long, the benefits are there to see. As she says, “Locally sourced parts for manufacturing devices would require huge investments by ecosystem players, but the benefits will be multifold as well – saving upfront import duty cost (which varies from 15-22 percent depending on the type of imports), exporting locally-manufactured devices to other parts of the world, earning through export subsidies and evolving as independent entities are some.”

However, Joshi also highlights the real problem at hand here. “We are still very far away from replacing China as a manufacturing hub, owing to multiple fundamental challenges faced – scarcity of essential resources like water and electricity, logistics, long term investments with dedicated arena for R&D, skilled manpower and hubs to promote production with sharing of resources are a few,” she adds.

With this in sight, can we actually ban China’s influence on products sold in India, in the entirety? Right now, the challenge seems tall, for it would require all-round and intensive investments to develop an advanced manufacturing industry, the likes of which do not exist in our country right now. For the immediate future, assembling in India is what seems to be the way forward.


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Should You Boycott PUBG Because it is Chinese? Read This And be Surprised it Isn’t

The ongoing tension between India and China following a recent clash between troops of both the nations in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh, has led to a deep impact in the tech world. A large section of the country has taken a stance on boycotting Chinese products ranging from apps like TikTok to electronics including smartphones and televisions. Unsurprisingly the ‘boycott rage’ has reached the gaming world, where people are now questioning the origins of the highly popular game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or better known as PUBG.

In the past few days, social media trends as well as various search engine trends, suggest that Indians have been questioning the origins of the game which has millions of daily active users. There have also been negative reviews and ratings popping up on the Google Play Store.

pubg-mobile-reviews

Now let me first give some basic info about PUBG. The game is offered in two formats- PUBG which is available for consoles and PC and PUBG Mobile which is solely available for smartphones. Both the games have a number of publishers including PUBG Corp, Tencent Games, Lightspeed & Quantum, Krafton and so forth.

Yes a majority of these are based out of China, but the game was originally created by Brendan Greene, an Irish video game designer. The game was eventually developed for PCs and consoles after being acquired by Bluehole, a gaming studio based out of South Korea. Tencent Holdings, which is Chinese multinational conglomerate, announced in 2017 that it has invested a large sum of money into Bluehole. Eventually acquiring 1.5% of Bluehole and announcing its plans to fully acquire the gaming studios. As of today, Tencent is one of the biggest shareholders in Bluehole, thus being associated as the ‘creator’ of PUBG. Tencent’s close association in the development of PUBG Mobile, which is available only for smartphones, is another reason why some people confuse the fact that the game is originally from China.

Now coming to the matter of boycotting PUBG. I am completely in for nationalism and patriotism, but how does that make a difference? According to a recent report by Statista, PUBG was one of the most popular games on Steam and had a peak of over 5,53,000 concurrent players in May 2020. The highest number of concurrent players was recorded in January 2018 at 3.24 million. A separate report suggests that PUBG Mobile is closing in on half a billion downloads, with a total of over 400 million players out of which 50 million are daily active users. Clearly the game is quite popular, and considering the huge fan base, it doesn’t seem like users in India would completely give it up. I wouldn’t.

Even if we start a whole motion to boycott PUBG and make the government completely ban the availability of the game along with the servers in India, what choice do we have? Well there is Fortnite, which is technically made by an American company (Yay?) but in my opinion the gameplay just feels a little gimmicky. Then there’s Garena Free Fire, which is a mobile only game that offers a good battle royale experience along with characters having unique abilities. Further, if you have your mind set on not playing PUBG anymore, you can also try your hand at Knives Out, Call of Duty Mobile, and Battlelands Royale.


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Tech

As Boycott China Trends on Social Media, OnePlus 8 Pro Sells Out Within Minutes

The recently introduced OnePlus 8 Pro, which sold out in India in a flash sale within minutes. (Photo: News18.com)

The recently introduced OnePlus 8 Pro, which sold out in India in a flash sale within minutes. (Photo: News18.com)

The recent conflicts with China, coupled with calls to promote locally manufactured products and brands, is yet to impact the Indian smartphone industry.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: June 19, 2020, 2:51 PM IST
  • Edited by: Shouvik Das

As India’s conflict with China becomes stronger, a Bloomberg report has suggested that the world of smartphones is not quite ready yet to fly independent of China. The case in point was the recent sale of OnePlus’ latest smartphones. The popular electronics brand recently hosted the sale of its flagship smartphone, the OnePlus 8 Pro in India, and as most noted, the sale ran out within minutes. In fact, many Indian buyers even took to Twitter to complain about not being able to purchase the smartphone, despite having waited for days.

This, Bloomberg notes, is tantamount evidence of how India may not be ready enough to reduce its dependence in Chinese brands, particularly in the smartphone space. According to the report, China leads the list of exporters to India, with a trade surplus for China that amounts to a whopping Rs 3.8 lakh crore. A considerable section of this surplus for China is contributed to its prowess in technology, manufacturing and associated acts. OnePlus, for instance, is owned by the Chinese company, BBK Electronics. BBK, as is well known, also owns Oppo, Vivo, Realme and Iqoo, all of which sell their smartphones in India. Oppo, Vivo and Realme are also among the most selling smartphone brands in India behind Xiaomi, which itself is also a Chinese technology company.

While the boycott China discourse has really strengthened in recent times, underlined by patriotic sentiments and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for vocal for local and ‘aatmanirbhar’ initiatives, it remains to be seen how lasting an impact does this have on Chinese companies that have almost become household names in India. Multiple conversations have also been raised about the risk of data security linked with the Chinese companies, all of which can significantly hurt the prospect of business for these brands.

As of now, however, it seems that brands like OnePlus are still successfully pulling off their device sales in India. Most smartphone brands have attempted to cash in on the make in India initiatives. Going forward, it remains to be seen how the latest conflict with China affects India’s most popular Chinese brands, and how India manages to step up its local manufacturing initiatives.


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