Vivo raids: China says India risks scaring away investors

The Chinese Embassy in India said in a press release on Thursday that investigations by Indian authorities into Chinese companies were disrupting “normal business activities” and dampening “the confidence and willingness of market entities in other countries, including Chinese companies, to invest and operate in India”.

The criticism comes after India’s Directorate of Law Enforcement – the country’s top financial investigative agency – raided leading Chinese smartphone company Vivo over money laundering allegations earlier this week .

In a Press release On Thursday, the Indian agency said it had searched 48 Vivo sites in the country, and seized 4.65 billion rupees ($60 million) from 119 bank accounts, including fixed deposits, cash and gold bullion.

In the statement, the Law Enforcement Branch accused Vivo of tax evasion and said the company paid 624.8 billion rupees ($7.9 billion), mostly to China.

“These remittances were made in order to disclose huge losses in Indian incorporated companies to avoid paying taxes in India,” he said.

“Vivo India employees, including some Chinese nationals, did not cooperate with the search process and attempted to flee,” the agency added.

A spokesperson for Vivo in India said on Tuesday that the company is “cooperating with authorities to provide them with all required information.”

Xiaomi also targeted

The raids on Vivo’s offices come two months after India seized more than $700 million from another major Chinese smartphone maker, Xiaomi. He was also accused of illegally moving money out of the country.

Xiaomi India said at the time that “all of our operations strictly comply with local laws and regulations”.

Chinese phone makers dominate the Indian market, with Xiaomi being the top-selling brand, according to data compiled by Counterpoint. Vivo is also among the top five brands, the firm said.

India has gotten tough on Chinese companies since border tensions escalated between the world’s most populous countries two years ago. In 2020, India banned over 200 apps, many of which were Chinese, including the hugely popular video platform TikTok.