The Indian Revenue Service acted against scams that it claimed originated in China.
The ministry’s Law Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday raided 48 premises belonging to Vivo Mobiles, the Indian website of the smartphone seller, which, according to Counterpoint Research, owns 15 percent of the smartphone market in India.
The reason for the raids was the management’s belief that Vivo had transferred about $8 million to China, “in order to uncover huge losses in Indian companies incorporated to avoid paying taxes in India”.
The department also confiscated 119 bank accounts, a lot of cash and two kilograms of gold bars.
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 and operating in India”.
The raids follow the May 2022 seizure of $725 million from the Indian presence of Chinese gadget maker Xiaomi, on the grounds that it also improperly transferred funds to China.
In June 2022, the department also revealed that it was investigating Vivo and Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE.
Investigations are still ongoing into both, as well as investigations into a group of financial services apps that made predatory loans using funds the department claims came from sources in China.
New Delhi alleges that the apps offered short-term loans, sometimes with punitive terms, and that the Chinese lenders profited up to $120 million from their actions.
The ministry confiscated millions it believed were destined for China, and revoked the licenses of some companies that deployed lending apps.
The two measures mark a new skirmish in the tense relationship between China and India, which has soured since India banned hundreds of Chinese apps. She justified the ban as protecting the privacy of citizens.
The two countries also quarreled, literally, over their common but poorly defined Himalayan border. The foreign ministers of the two countries met this week and agreed to settle matters on the border. It can be more difficult to spot cell phone makers who have gold bars in the office. ®