India’s Treasury Department has cracked down on scams said to originate in China.
The ministry’s Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday raided 48 premises of Vivo Mobiles, the Indian outpost of the smartphone maker that holds 15 percent of India’s smartphone market, according to Counterpoint Research.
The reason for the raids was the ministry’s belief that Vivo had moved about $8 million to China “to disclose huge losses in Indian corporations to avoid paying taxes in India.”
The department also seized 119 bank accounts, lots of cash and two kilograms of gold bullion.
China’s Foreign Ministry acknowledged the raids and called on Indian authorities to “provide a truly fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies investing in and operating in India.”
The raids follow the seizure of $725 million from Chinese gadget maker Xiaomi’s Indian presence in May 2022 on the grounds that it too had illegally funneled cash into China.
In June 2022, the ministry also announced that it was investigating Vivo and Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE.
Investigations into both continue, as well as investigations into a number of financial services apps that offered pirate loans with funds the ministry claims came from sources in China.
New Delhi claims the apps offered short-term loans, sometimes on punitive terms, and that Chinese lenders profited $120 million from their actions.
The ministry has seized millions it believes were destined for China and revoked licenses for some of the companies that released the lending apps.
The two actions mark a new skirmish in the tense relationship between China and India, which has deteriorated since India banned hundreds of Chinese apps. She justified the bans with the protection of the privacy of citizens.
The two nations have also literally fought on their shared but ill-defined Himalayan borders. The foreign ministers of the two nations met this week and agreed to settle matters at the border. Cell phone makers with bullion in the office might be harder to figure out. ®