Apple knows well that most Indians prefer to spend more on mid-range devices, and hence, it is trying to sell used iPhones there to crack the Indian smartphone market. However, the idea has not been received well in the country and is facing resistance, says Bloomberg.
Apple a threat to “Make in India”
Apple is making an attempt to become the first company to secure permission to import and sell used handsets in the country. This is the second effort from the company. However, the stakes are higher this time, and a number of industry executives are opposing the move.
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They are privately warning government officials that if they grant Apple permission, the floodgates to electronic waste into the country will open, jeopardizing local players and threatening the Make in India program that Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced with the intent of encouraging local manufacturing.
Sudhir Hasija, Chairman of Karbonn Mobiles, says, “Make in India could turn into Dump in India.”
His company sells about 1.7 million devices in a month.
Such a move from Apple does hold a potential threat for local manufacturers, and the main representative body of the electronics manufacturing industry has already sensed it. The industry group recently set up a lobbying arm that wrote directly to the government, vehemently opposing Apple’s application.
In a letter, the chairman of the newly formed Mobile and Communications Council, Ravinder Zutshi, asks, “Why even consider allowing import of used phones when import of other used goods such as cars are precluded by 300 percent duty levies?”
Micromax, Intex and Samsung, the largest “Make in India” phone brands, are part of this group.
India a very important market
In 2015, Apple submitted a similar application which the environment ministry turned down without much fanfare, but things have changed since then. India has the world’s second largest mobile population, and for Apple, it represents a vast untapped market like China.
Also the company’s growth in the U.S. has come to stagnation. The U.S. firm will soon get a permit to open its first retail stores in the country. Apple’s application has been sent to the so-called inter-ministerial discussion. As of now, there has been no comment on the matter from the U.S. firm.