The growth of Chinese investments into Indian startups have increased over the years with many Chinese companies emerging as prominent investors in areas ranging from hospitality to infrastructure, information technology to logistics and newer sectors of interest such as technology startups. According to traders' body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), these investments of Chinese companies in Indian startups is a strategic move by Beijing to command Indian innovations and technology and other vital sectors in a very clandestine manner.
In a letter to Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, CAIT has asked the government to order an investigation into Chinese investments in Indian startups to ascertain their investment control in Indian firms.
The trader association body has shared a list of 141 prominent Indian startups which have significant Chinese investments. These Indian companies relate to hospitality, food delivery, IT, logistics, payment applications, e-commerce travel, transport, pharmaceuticals, insurance, share market, healthcare, eye care, play applications and others.
The list includes major companies such as Flipkart, Paytm.com, Swiggy, Ola, Oyo Rooms, Zomato, Policybazaar, BigBasket, Delhivery, Dream11, Hike, Snapdeal, Udaan, Lenskart.com, Byju's and Urban Ladder, MobiKwik, Vedantu, Zoomcar, Quikr and others that have benefitted from Chinese investments.
"From this list of diverse fields, we believe that the Chinese companies have tried to tap all important sectors of the economy and further which has a significant date of cross-sections of people of India," COAI said in the letter.
The CAIT has requested the government to investigate if the data accrued by these companies is landed in India or abroad and whether the security and safety precautions are followed while storing data. It also called for an investigation to verify whether Chinese technology has any in-built spying technology.
The government has tightened the noose around Chinese investments in India, especially in the public sector, after the Galwan Valley border clash in June. Over 100 mobile apps, including popular Chinese video app TikTok, have also been banned, citing threats to India's national security over alleged links to the Chinese government.
Recently, the CAIT wrote to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) raising objections over the Indian Premier League's title sponsor Dream 11 having stakeholders from China. In a letter to BCCI President Saurav Ganguly, the CAIT said: "We are deeply pained to note that now Dream 11 has been chosen as a sponsor of IPL 2020 which has Chinese company Tencent Global as one of the major stakeholders."
Dream 11, the newly selected title sponsor for the IPL 2020, has substantial investment from Chinese conglomerate Tencent which reportedly owns 10-13 per cent stake in the fantasy sports platform. The Chinese firm had invested $100 million in Dream11 for a minority stake in the fantasy cricket league platform as part of the latter's Series D funding in September 2018.