India will have to deal with some significant challenges in the coming weeks as the nation looks to deal with coming out of lockdown mode and getting its economy up and running. The latest setback that India has to deal with is cross-border tensions with China.
India claims that Chinese troops tried to infiltrate and cross the border into the disputed Himalayan territory of Galwan which resulted in the Indian army taking action. China disputes the story and claims that Indian soldiers deliberately crossed over into China and they took action.
While we have to speculate which version is actually true, the end result is that over 20 Indian soldiers have lost their lives in the escalation. The clash between the two most populous nations on earth took place on June 15 and has caused a lot of political tensions which have created a backlash in India as there have been calls to boycott all Chinese products.
IPL To Hold Meeting To Discuss Chinese Sponsorships
There are a number of major Chinese corporations who have strong ties to India. The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a prime example as the lucrative T20 tournament in India is sponsored by Vivo which is a mobile manufacturer based out of China. Vivo bagged IPL sponsorship rights in 2015 for a period of 2 years and successfully renewed its sponsorship contract in 2017 for another 5 years.
Vivo ended up paying $341 million for its sponsorship rights which allows them to promote the IPL as Vivo IPL. The IPL is also supported by Paytm – which is a popular mobile wallet in India and the official Umpires Partner in the IPL. One of the main stakeholders of Paytm is Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
The IPL Governing Council will meet this week to review some of these Chinese sponsorships but has not disclosed if it will be focusing on any one particular sponsorship. BCCI Treasurer Arun Dhumal did clarify that they were not going to be reviewing these contracts with an emotional chip on their shoulder. The review will be done in a rational and analytical manner.
Dhumal pointed out that the IPL had signed a contract with Vivo and would look to honor those terms and conditions. He said it was imperative to understand the difference between backing a Chinese company to support China and doing business with a Chinese company to benefit India.
The Treasurer said that the Vivo sponsorship brought in millions of dollars to the IPL and the Indian economy as well since 42 percent of the revenue was paid in taxes to the Indian government. Dhumal said that the IPL committee will keep their options open when it comes to renewing sponsorship lights in 2022.
BCCI Does Not Want To Lose More Money In 2020
The BCCI is currently doing its best to see if it can stage the 2020 IPL before the end of the year. The BCCI is waiting on the ICC to confirm if the T20 World Cup will take place as per schedule in October in Australia. The ICC is expected to make a final decision on the matter in July.
If the T20 World Cup does take place, it is going to be difficult for the BCCI to cram a full IPL season in before the end of 2020. If this be the case, the BCCI could end up losing about $500 million which will be a massive loss in revenue. The BCCI will not want to do anything in light of the India-China tensions to opt out of its contract with Vivo, lose out on money and face legal fees and challenges.
Indian Fans Disown Chinese Products
While the BCCI contemplates reviewing Chinese sponsorship deals in the IPL, Indian fans have already made their mind. Some fans have taken to social media to show their anger at China for killing 20 Indian soldiers. A large number of people have agreed to stop buying Chinese products while some have gone to the extent of throwing out their Chinese television sets and mobile phones in anger.
Given the fact that the IPL is sponsored by a Chinese company, it will be interesting to see if Indian fans are willing to boycott the IPL if Vivo continues to be its main sponsor!