Thought Box

Cheeni Kam: What is Cheeni, What is not?

Cheeni Kam: What is Cheeni, What is not?

by The Daily Eye News Desk June 24 2020, 4:49 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 14 secs

Most Indians - up to 84% don’t want celebrities to endorse Chinese Brands. But do they know whether they’re using a Chinese brand or not? Let’s find out from a report released by Indian Institute of Human Brands (IIHB) 

The Indian Institute of Human Brands (IIHB) conducted a ‘gun-shot’ telephonic survey held on June 17th & June 18th 2020 - to gauge consumer sentiment over celebrities endorsing Chinese brands, post the news came of the martyrdom of 20 of our soldiers in the Galwan Valley. 

There were 408 respondents who were asked some quick-fire questions to check if they knew the country of origin of the brands mentioned in the survey. Only 32% of Indians actually know that the brands they’re using or those, which they aspire to own, are Chinese. Meanwhile they also voice their reservations over Vivo sponsoring IPL and Byju’s as India cricket team sponsor. 

So how many of the respondents associated a brand with a celebrity and how many wanted the celebrity to desist from peddling the said brand because it was Chinese? 

Apple: 92% respondents knew that it is from the US 

Oppo: 37% respondents said it is Indian. Only 42% said it was Chinese 

Vivo: 41% thought it is from US/Europe, 12% said it was Indian while 40% said they knew it was Chinese 

Samsung: 62% said it was Korean, 22% from US 

One Plus: Most felt it to be European - 30%, US - 22%, Indian - 14%, Chinese - 30% 

Realme: Only 27% knew it is Chinese and 26% knew Redmi’s actual origin 

Nokia: It was said to be Indian by as many as 32% respondents 

Sony: 88% said it is Japanese 

Panasonic: 92% said it is Japanese 

On association of celebrities with Chinese brands: There were 84% of respondents who said that they don’t want Indian celebrities to support or sell Chinese brands. Here below is the breakdown of results: 

Vivo: Aamir Khan (42%), Sara Ali Khan (6%)

Oppo: Ranbir Kapoor (22%), Katrina Kaif (11%), Badshah (7%), Deepika Padukone (3%), Sonam Kapoor (2%), Hardik Pandya (2%), Rohit Sharma (4%), Ashwin (1%) 

One Plus: Amitabh Bachchan  (14%)

Realme: Salman Khan (21%), Shraddha Kapoor (3%) 

iQoo: Virat Kohli (9%)

When asked if these celebrities should continue to endorse Chinese brands, here below are what came as the most repeated answers: 

  • It is unpatriotic 
  • Our soldiers are dying at the hands of the Chinese 
  • China is responsible for coronavirus 
  • We should support Indian brands

When asked if Chinese brand, Vivo, should be title sponsor of IPL: 

No: 72 % 

Yes: 12 % 

Maybe: 12 % 

Rest were non-committal

When asked if it is good that Byju’s has replaced Chinese brand Oppo as sponsor of the Indian team: 

Yes: 85 % 

No: 14 % 

Maybe: 1%  

When asked if they would still say yes if they were told that Byju’s too has big Chinese ownership? 

No: 76 % 

Yes: 5 % 

Maybe: 14 % 

The rest were non-committal 

However, TikTok was a whole other story: 

When asked if TikTok a Chinese app:  

Yes: 56 % 

No: 32 

Maybe: 12 % 

When asked if they would uninstall TikTok because it is a Chinese app? 

Yes: 21 % 

Maybe: 62 % 

No: 11 % 

No Answer: 16% 


There is low knowledge of the actual country of origin of almost all the Chinese brands despite the media hype.  Overall only 32% of respondents got the country of origin correct in the case of China, which has two implications: 

  1. The Chinese brands have done a good job in masking their Sino identity, and many consumers actually believe they are local brands, perhaps because of their ubiquitous presence in media and on retail shelves. 
  2. Consumers actually don’t care for the country of origin of the products that they use. The entire ‘backlash’ is largely media and political hype.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.