In­dia re­jects Ap­ple’s plan to im­port used iPhones

The African - - TECHNOLOGY -

In­dia has re­jected a plan by Ap­ple Inc to im­port used iPhones, govern­ment of­fi­cials said on Wed­nes­day, a blow to the U.S. tech gi­ant that has been seek­ing to re­vive wan­ing sales of its flag­ship smart­phones.

Ap­ple sells what it calls re­fur­bished iPhones at a dis­count in some coun­tries, in­clud­ing the United States. Ex­tend­ing this prac­tice to In­dia would have likely helped it in­crease its share in one of the world’s fastest grow­ing smart­phone mar­kets against com­peti­tors with much cheaper of­fer­ings.

But In­dia, which is push­ing a ‘Make in In­dia’ ini­tia­tive to boost the com­pet­i­tive­ness of its man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, re­jected the pro­posal cit­ing rules against im­port­ing used elec­tron­ics.

“In­dia does not en­cour­age dump­ing or re­cy­cling of haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als,” NN Kaul, a spokesman for the tele­com min­istry said. Ap­ple’s pro­posal was op­posed by do­mes­tic phone mak­ers who claim sell­ing re­fur­bished iPhones - de­vices that have been re­turned by buy­ers or re­paired to fac­tory con­di­tion af­ter dam­age - would breach In­dia’s anti-dump­ing rules.

The Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics and Ap­pli­ances Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion had writ­ten to In­dia’s tele­com min­istry to stall the move. An Ap­ple spokes­woman in Sin­ga­pore did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to an email seek­ing com­ment.

The news comes at a time when Ap­ple posted its firstever drop in iPhone sales amid weak­ness in China, its most im­por­tant mar­ket af­ter the United States. In In­dia, Ap­ple only has about a 2 per­cent mar­ket share but its sales there surged 56 per­cent in the first three months, driven mainly by cheaper older-gen­er­a­tion de­vices such as the iPhone 5S while de­mand for the new iPhone SE dis­ap­pointed.

“The 5S’ suc­cess in In­dia has more to do with af­ford­abil­ity of a pre­mium brand than a pref­er­ence for smaller phones, and the move to the more ex­pen­sive SE will dis­cour­age bud­get buy­ers,” said Wilmer Ang, an an­a­lyst at re­search firm Canalys.

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