India’s Electronic Imports From China on Rise Again

Mukul Yudhveer Singh ([email protected])


Data sourced from commerce department notes India imported $20.3 billion worth of electronics from China in 2020-21

The last twelve months have been more about electronics than anything else in India. The government of the country has launched one production linked incentive scheme after another. These schemes are meant to promoting manufacturing of electronics in the country. However, it seems that India is back at importing electronics from China with a bang.

The electronics import bill, which stood at $19.1 billion during 2019-20, now stands at $20.3 billion (2020-21). However, the good news is that these figures haven’t crossed what India imported from China in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. India’s electronic exports during these years stood at $21.9 billion, $28.7 billion and $20.6 billion, respectively. Please do notice the slump in imports immediately after 2017-18.

The large part of imports

Telephone equipment including mobile phones and components make for the largest share of imports made by India. At $6.3 billion, these take the larger piece of pie of electronics exported by China to India. This is despite the fact that the government of India has already approved the PLI scheme for smartphone manufacturing, and even the participants have been shown the green flag.

Under the production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for large scale electronics manufacturing, mobile manufacturers had produced goods worth Rs 35,000 crore and invested Rs 1,300 crore in the December 2020 quarter as notified the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in an official statement.

The good news in this segment is that as against $21 billion worth of electronic imports made in 2016-17, India just imported $6.3 billion in 2020-21. However, these import figures stood at around 5.5 billion during the previous fiscal.

There’s a big increase in the import bills of electronic integrated circuits and micro assemblies from China. India imported about $3.3 billion worth of these in 2021. The import figures for the same during 2016-17 were $0.5 billion, and during 2019-20 $3.5 billion.

Then comes the import bill of semiconductors and photovolatic cells. India, during 2020-21 imported these worth $1.9 billion dollars as against $1.6 billion import bill the previous fiscal. However, the import bill of these during 2016-17 was around $3.2 billion.


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