Chinese global giants in India, like Huawei and Alibaba, which potentially have a direct or indirect link with the Chinese army, could soon face action. These companies are among the seven Chinese companies that the Indian intelligence sources have highlighted for having deep links with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
These seven Chinese companies are Xindia Steels, Xinxing Cathay International, China Electronics Technology Group, Huawei, Alibaba, Tencent, and SAIC Motor Corporation. Indian government sources have highlighted that “these companies are under watch and could face potential action”.
Chinese telecom company Huawei reported a revenue of Rs. 12,800 crore in the Financial Year (FY) 2018-19 from its Indian operators. The company, founded by Ren Zhengfei, who was a former deputy director at the People’s Liberation Army engineering corps, is facing global issues on 5G with countries like the US, Japan, UK, and Australia acting on it in various ways.
Sources have highlighted that Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent are part of China’s military-civil fusion and artificial intelligence projects. Sources pointing to the 2019 report of US-China economic and security review commission said, under China’s military-civil fusion policy, “government-supported mechanisms, including venture capital (VC) funds…(are used for) leveraging the fruits of civilian innovation for China’s defence sector.”
Alibaba has made investments in Indian startups including popular ones like PayTM, Zomato, Big basket, Snapdeal, Xpressbees. Tencent has made mega investments in the Indian tech space, including a $400 million investment in Ola Cabs and a $700 million investment in Flipkart.
But it’s not just the tech or mobile sectors where the Chinese companies with links to the PLA are present. SAIC Motor Corporation, a Chinese state-owned automobile company headquartered in Shanghai, sells the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), MG Hector, in India. One of the company’s subsidiaries is Nanjing Automobile, which was previously a vehicle servicing unit of the PLA.
Xinxing Cathay International Group, a metal product manufacturing company, is present in India in various forms including a joint venture, Xindia Steels Ltd.
Employees of China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) have been convicted of military espionage and it provides technology that is believed to be used for human rights abuses in the restive western province of Xinjiang in China. The company had invested Rs. 320 crores in a manufacturing facility in Andhra Pradesh in 2018.
This comes even as India last month banned 59 Chinese apps including the widely popular TikTok app after a violent face-off at the Line Of Actual Contol (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers had died. Chinese forces also suffered casualties but haven’t come out with a number.