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Australian Consumers Turning Off Chinese Brands As Backlash Kicks In

The “tide is turning” against Chinese brands as consumers in Australia and around the world move to stop buying smartphones, TV’s appliances and security cameras made by Chinese Companies.

The move is set to have a kick on effect inside China as order dry up for factories and people are laid off.

Relations between China and Australia have been on a downward spiral in recent months, after the Chinese Communist Party who have huge control over brands such as Huawei, Hisense, the maker of TV’s and appliances and the owner of ASKO appliances, Oppo, Realme, Haier the owner of Fisher & Paykel ZTE who make smartphones for Telstra and Xiaomi took exception to Australia calling for an inquiry as to the origins of the coronavirus, which was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Also facing problems is Midea whose management is “very close” to the Chinese Communist Party. This Company also owns the Toshiba Appliance business.

Several of these Companies also have links to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

In what is seen as retaliation against Australia’s stance, Beijing suspended some beef imports, slapped hefty tariffs on barley and is reportedly considering more actions on products from wine to fruits.

According to Paul Riachi the owner of two Melbourne retail stores Rio Sound & Vision his customers are “Openly asking for non-Chinese made products”.

A Harvey Norman franchisee in Sydney said “The anti-China backlash is gaining momentum especially in select regions of Sydney. The Northern Beaches with the exception of Chatswood which has a high Chinese population, down South and in the Eastern Suburbs consumers are questioning whether a product is owned by a Chinese Company.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would not be intimidated by “coercion” after the moves from Beijing. “We are an open-trading nation, mate, but I’m never going to trade our values in response to coercion from wherever it comes,”. he said.

In the security camera market several Chinese brands are seen as a security risk with Chinese brand Eufy recently trying to pass themselves off as a popular US brand despite most US retailers refusing to stock the questionable Chinese owned and made product which is sold at JB Hi Fi, Bing Lee and Amazon. Other brands facing a backlash are Anker a Chinese manufacturer of accessories and sound gear. Their products which include the Eufy camera are distributed By Melbourne Company Directed Electronics.

Telecom equipment vendors Huawei and ZTE are alleged to have links to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and to the Chinese government, accusations that the two companies have repeatedly denied

Australia and the USA are not the only Countries where consumers are backlashing against the actions of the Chinese Government.

In India outrage over the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers last week in a border clash with Chinese troops added fuel to a boycott movement that has already seen Indian smartphone users’ mass-deleting Chinese-made software.

Oppo, Realme, and Vivo smartphones are being smashed and some burnt in public gatherings. One group took to smashing a Hisense TV.

Indian officials said on Wednesday that they would bar their state-run telecom companies from purchasing equipment from Chinese companies such as ZTE and Huawei Technologies whose products are openly being sold by Australian carriers. Optus and TPG are still installing Huawei routers and communication gear into hundreds of Australian businesses and homes despite the security risks outlined by the US Government and the banning of Huawei gear from Australia’s 5G networks.

Telstra is still openly selling ZTE smartphones as well as Telstra branded smartphones that are manufactured by the banned Company who executives are facing new spying charges in the USA.

Indian authorities have privately warned telecom operators against working with Chinese companies in the rollout of new 5G networks following the recent attacks.

As recently as December, Huawei and ZTE were welcomed to participate in India’s 5G trials.

Last night the USA Government attacked both Huawei and ZTE, as several countries exclude the Chinese company from their 5G infrastructure, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says, framing it as a win for security.

The U.S. foreign policy chief cited “a transatlantic awakening to the truth of what’s happening” on China issues including “Huawei, an arm of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state.”

This isn’t the United States confronting China, Pompeo said, “This is the world confronting China,” during a speech at the German Marshall Fund’s Brussels Forum, livestreamed by the State Department.

A day prior, Pompeo said in a statement that the momentum in favour of a “secure 5G” is building. “The more countries, companies, and citizens ask whom they should trust with their most sensitive data, the more obvious the answer becomes: not the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state.”

The U.S. State Department lists telecom companies around the globe that allow only trusted vendors in their 5G networks, calling them “clean telcos.”

“We’ve seen this with Orange in France, Jio in India, Telstra in Australia, SK and KT in South Korea, NTT in Japan, and O2 in the United Kingdom” he said.

Yesterday, Singapore’s three biggest telecommunication companies announced that they have chosen Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia as the main equipment suppliers for their 5G networks, mostly leaving China’s Huawei Technologies out in the cold.

Singapore’s biggest telecom operator, Singapore Telecommunications will use Ericsson equipment, while the StarHub-M1 consortium has opted for Nokia gear. Singapore’s government officially granted 5G operating licenses to the telecom companies on Wednesday.

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