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Manu Kumar Jain, former managing director of Xiaomi India after an interview with Reuters inside his office in Bengaluru, India, on January 18, 2018. Photo: Reuters

India agency summons former Xiaomi head in investigation over foreign exchange laws

  • In a probe that has been ongoing since at least February, India’s financial crime-fighting agency called in Xiaomi’s former India managing director
  • The move signals widening scrutiny of the Chinese smartphone giant after its office was raided in December over alleged tax evasion
India’s federal financial crime-fighting agency has summoned a former India head of China’s Xiaomi Corp in an investigation of whether the company’s business practices conformed with Indian foreign exchange laws, two sources with direct knowledge told Reuters.

The Enforcement Directorate has been probing the company since at least February, and in recent weeks asked Manu Kumar Jain, Xiaomi’s former India managing director, to appear before its officers, the sources said.

Jain, now a global vice-president at Xiaomi based out of Dubai, was currently in India, the sources said, though the purpose of his visit was not clear.

Xiaomi asked by India to pay up in import tax saga

Asked about the probe, a Xiaomi spokesperson said the company abides by all Indian laws and was “fully compliant with all the regulations”.

“We are cooperating with authorities with their ongoing investigation to ensure they have all the requisite information,” the statement said.

The actions signal widening scrutiny of the Chinese smartphone maker, whose India office was raided in December in a separate investigation over alleged income tax evasion. Some other Chinese smartphone markers were also raided at the time.

Jain did not respond to a request for comment. India’s Enforcement Directorate also did not respond, though the agency typically does not make details public while investigations are ongoing.

The agency is looking into existing business structures between Xiaomi India, its contract manufacturers and its parent entity in China, according to the first source, who said that fund flows between Xiaomi India and its parent entity, including royalty payments, were being checked.

The Enforcement Directorate, via a notice in February addressed to Xiaomi’s Jain, asked for various company documents, the second source familiar with the developments said.


The rise of Chinese smartphones

The rise of Chinese smartphones

These included details of foreign funding, shareholding and funding patterns, financial statements and information of key executives running the business, the source said.

Xiaomi remains India’s top smartphone seller in 2021, with a 24 per cent market share, according to Counterpoint Research. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics was the No 2 brand with a 19 per cent share.

Xiaomi also deals in other tech gadgets in India, including smartwatches and televisions.