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14 May, 2021 14:10

Beijing hits back after Indian media says China sending substandard and overpriced oxygen concentrators to Delhi for Covid relief

Beijing hits back after Indian media says China sending substandard and overpriced oxygen concentrators to Delhi for Covid relief

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has dismissed criticism from India that Beijing has upped the price of the oxygen generators it’s sending to Delhi and has altered the component. Beijing blames a scarcity of anti-epidemic materials.

Speaking on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters that rising demand has affected the global supply chain and that this was the cause of price increases in India, specifically noting supply challenges from Europe. 

“In addition, Indian buyers usually express their needs widely through various channels, and sometimes purchase through different channels, which may also lead to excessive demand… and pushes prices up,” she stated.

Hua was responding to an article published by India Today on Friday morning, which cited official documents and photos and claimed that Chinese firms had increased the price of the oxygen concentrators they’re sending to Delhi but had also lessened the quality of the specifications and components. 

The paper claims that one manufacturer, Yuwell, has increased its per-item cost from $340 per piece on April 30 to $460 as of May 12. India Today claimed that China’s “humanitarian gesture” is nothing more than profit making.

“We are buying way more expensive products for half its quality, and the lifespan will be only a few hundred hours as opposed to a few thousand hours that it originally is meant to be,” one Indian buyer told the paper. 

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Beijing has previously talked up its aid to India as its neighbor faces a staggering rise in Covid-19 cases. “China provides most oxygen concentrators to India, and keeps producing oxygen concentrators and other medical equipment for India,” Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong said in a tweet in early May. 

On Tuesday, Chinese state-run paper, the Global Times, made its own accusation, suggesting Indian middlemen were making large profits by reselling Chinese-made oxygen concentrators. The paper said Chinese suppliers were “upset and saddened” to hear that their humanitarian efforts were being undermined. 

India has been battling a very severe wave of Covid-19, registering more than 300,000 cases every day. The country has become reliant on foreign aid and imports for medical supplies. 

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