MNC vs Local Brands is more of a debate than a competition. There has been a lot of clamour to discard foreign brands and adopt local brands to make India’s economy stronger and self-reliant. Even though, in last one decade, India’s economy has been one of the fastest growing economies of the word for almost a decade now, it has been badly hit by global recession as well as the recent outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
To build a strong nation, we need an independent national economy. So what does an independent national economy mean? Building an independent national economy means building an economy which is free from dependence on others and which stands on its own feet, an economy which serves one’s own people and develops on the strength of the resources of one’s own country and by the efforts of one’s own people. Such an economy makes it possible to develop the productive forces quickly by utilizing the nation’s natural resources in a rational and integrated way, improve the people’s living standard continuously, strengthen the material and technical foundations of socialism, and increase the nation’s political, economic and military power.
Government of India has put great impetus towards this goal. A ‘Make in India’ movement was started by the Government of India in 2014 to encourage companies to manufacture products in India and enthuse dedicated investments into manufacturing to boost Indian economy. The goal was to have indigenous manufacturing of all kinds of products to reduce import dependence and boost exports.
Some have misunderstood this as to boycott foreign brands and adopt desi ones. Whereas, the movement is actually to buy goods manufactured in India rather than buying imported goods. The intent here is to reduce dependence on imports and encourage local manufacturing. Reduction in imports will save the country a lot of money in foreign exchange which can be used to develop infrastructure in the country. At the same time, local manufacturing will provide employment to the people of country and boost development of science and technology.
So considering above argument, anything which is manufactured in India whether by a multinational company or an Indian company is local for us.
One important lesson COVID-19 has taught us is that we have capacity and capability to mass produce quality products. This is evident from the fact that within a few weeks of the pendemic outbreak, we ramped up our production facilities to manufacture required medicines and medical equipment within the country, majority of which otherwise was being imported.
Many multinational companies have already set up manufacturing units in India and procure raw material locally. Even though their mobile phones, television sets, toothpastes and soaps, and apparel will retain the global brand ethos in consumer campaigns and communication they will be manufactured locally and contribute to our economy.
Unilever, Colgate, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Mondelez, Sony, LG, Samsung and Xiaomi are among MNCs that produce or assemble 90-100% of their portfolio in India. Electronic companies are expanding their R&D facilities and component sourcing from India.
As the manufacturing increases, especially with more foreign investments and MNCs setting up factories in India, distinction between foreign (MNC) and desi brands will decrease.
As the Prime Minister recently said, the way ahead lies in local. Local manufacturing, local markets, local supply chain. Local is not merely a need but a responsibility.