Una: Chinese might not be hardcore believers of Hindu gods and goddesses, but constant demand from India for china-made idols of these gods has surely become a significant source of income for them. And what began as a trickle some years ago is now thriving as ‘Hindu god factory’ in China.

Chinese-made firecrackers, lights and toys have already flooded the Indian market for the past few years and the gods could not have been far behind. Chinese idols have swarmed the state markets providing buyers with wide choices and new designs, turning a money-making business for Chinese businessmen. Every week, idols worth lakhs is being sold in Himachal alone.

The demand for these ‘Made in China’ idols in India has been soaring mainly because they are considered the best choice for decoration. As a result, the bigger version of the Chinese idols can be seen in every household stacked along with statuettes of deities. 

The consumers at home are finding them more attractive than locally-made idols.

One of the consumers in the Una district, Atul Chowdhary said, “Every day china-made idols worth lakhs reach Himachal. One foot Chinese idol is available between Rs 250-300.”

On top of their neat and shiny appearance, consumers find the price tag just right.

“The Chinese-made goods are much neater and shinier as they are moulded. People often prefer them as they are cheap and good for decorative purposes,” he said.

From fancy lights to electronic devices and plastic toys to ceramic pots, ‘Made in China’ products have invariably hit the economy of the local market. Understanding the current trends and consumer choice, Chinese are learning the tricky art of mass production of Hindu Gods.
According to Rakesh Kumar, a local shopkeeper into idol selling business, the figurines are made of papier mache, fibre glass and porcelain. All the idols are machine made, in contrast to the Indian counterparts that are more often than not are hand crafted.
“It is for this reason that if China made idol which cost Rs 200, a similar-sized idol made locally will be five times costlier,” he added.

Excise and Tax Official, S K Thakur said, “Although the China made idols are encroaching in the local markets, but the firm providing these products is registered. As long as the products have VAT attached there is no problem. And if any item is being imported from Japan or US in bulk, the issue will be dealt under Custom department.”