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Are Indian brands pivoting their money away from Chinese platforms?BI India
We speak to experts in an effort to find out how this negative sentiment might impact ad spends.

In the wake of mounting Indo-China tension, are Indian brands pivoting their money away from Chinese platforms like TikTok, VMate?

We speak to experts in an effort to find out how this negative sentiment might impact ad spends.
  • After India embroiled in a border dispute with China in the Galwan Valley region last week, a cloud of negative sentiment for China emerged on social media.
  • There have been talks of people uninstalling Chinese apps and calls for boycotting Chinese products.
  • We speak to experts in an effort to find out how this negative sentiment might impact ad spends on some Chinese platform.
The last week saw mounting tension on our borders with China following a fierce clash in the Galwan Valley. Owing to the violence and the loss of life, anti-China hashtags such as #BoycottChineseProducts, #IndiaChinaBorder and #LadkhBorder surfaced on social media.

For weeks now, anti-China sentiments have been escalating in the country. People have started boycotting Chinese apps and products. The video where a group of people break a television set of Chinese origins together, went viral on social media.

The sentiment has now reached Chinese platforms like TikTok and VMate. People are either making anti-China content on a Chinese app or deleting the app altogether.

Another app called ‘Made in India’ was launched on June 12 to help people recognise if the product placed in front of them is manufactured in India or not by scanning the barcode on its packaging.

With this escalating resentment for our neighboring country, we reached out to experts to find out if Indian brands have already started pivoting their marketing monnies away from Chinese platforms like TikTok and VMate to avoid getting caught in the middle and here is what they said:

Karthik Srinivasan, Independent Communications Consultant and Former National Lead of Social, Ogilvy said:

Yes, I would assume so. It's just terrible from a perception point of view, to be seen on TikTok, given the border-related issues that have surfaced now. For brands, perception is everything. Even if they hesitate or merely pause their campaigns on platforms like TikTok, it is highly possible that users would target brands and ask them pointed questions to boycott campaigns on TikTok.

For users, since TikTok is free and is merely a source of entertainment, dropping the platform would be the lowest hanging fruit to showcase their sentiment. For power users who are used to their fan base on the platform, given the negative sentiment around China, they may need to take the painful decision to start building their base on other, non-Chinese platforms. This wouldn't affect celebrities and actors, though, since they have teams that have built their fan-bases on multiple platforms. So pausing content sharing on one (like TikTok) won't be an issue since they have other options like Instagram and Facebook anyway available to them.

Preetam Thingalaya, Director of Media, Mirum India:

My Immediate answer to this will be – NO, but will pause for a bit and will wait & watch. However, we will keep a close eye on the development of this situation. Negative sentiments towards China are on an all-time high currently and it’s easier to delete an app than break your mobile phone or your television.

But as we see it, new ideas and new plans for brand on Tiktok will take a back seat for some time, and we might see some decline in new campaigns going up on Tik Tok, other apps might see the same trend – for now, I see this as a temporary solution only.

Once the situation cools down, I feel it will go back to normal like always. If TikTok actually gets banned and out of India, then it’s a different story. Also, my recent observation has been that #AntiChina hashtags/videos are trending on TikTok, now isn’t that ironic.

Ankit Agarwal, Founder, Do Your Thng (DYT):

Despite the internet wars in May that led to #BoycottChina and #BanTikTok, TikTok is back to its 4.4 ratings, and one of the top downloaded apps on Google Play, ahead of Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.

It visibly proves that TikTok’s slip in rankings doesn’t adversely affect brands or their influencer marketing campaigns because it was temporary. A solid example is Emami’s #NavratnaCoolChampi campaign on TikTok using influencers Nagma Mirajkar and Awez Darbar, among others.

There are valid reasons brands will not shy away from the ByteDance owned app any time soon. One, it puts them in front of Gen Z, a hard to catch demographic. Two, it offers potential sales across Tier II and III markets. Three, it’s vernacular and creative content provides entertainment value to users that other social media can’t.

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