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9 March 2020, Gateway House

Chinese investments in India

Over the last five years, China has quietly created a significant place for itself in India – in the technology domain. While India has refused to sign on to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), this report shows India's positioning in the virtual BRI to be strategically invaluable for China. Nearly $4 billion in venture investments in start-ups, the online ecosystem and apps have been made by Chinese entities. This is just the beginning; there is more to come.

Fellow, Energy & Environment Studies Programme

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Chinese Investments in India Report_2020_Cover

China quietly has created a significant place for itself in India in the last five years – in the technology domain. Unable to persuade India to sign on to its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has entered the Indian market through venture investments in start-ups and penetrated the online ecosystem with its popular smartphones and their applications (apps).

Chinese tech investors have put an estimated $4 billion into Indian start-ups. Such is their success that over the five years ending March 2020, 18 of India’s 30 unicorns are now Chinese-funded. TikTok, the video app, has 200 million subscribers and has overtaken YouTube in India. Alibaba, Tencent and ByteDance rival the U.S. penetration of Facebook, Amazon and Google in India. Chinese smartphones like Oppo and Xiaomi lead the Indian market with an estimated 72%1 share, leaving Samsung and Apple behind.

You can download the PDF version of this report, here.

Amit Bhandari is Fellow, Energy and Environment Studies at Gateway House

Blaise Fernandes is Board Member, Gateway House, and President & CEO, The Indian Music Industry.

Aashna Agarwal is former Researcher, Gateway House.

This report was exclusively written for Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations. You can read exclusive content here.

For interview requests with the author, or for permission to republish, please contact outreach@gatewayhouse.in.

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