India Says No To Sale Of Used Apple Phones

31/05/2016 12:00 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
Bloomberg via Getty Images
An attendee takes a photograph of the new Apple Inc. iPhone SE smartphone after an event in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Monday, March 21, 2016. Apple Inc. unveiled a new, smaller iPhone that will start at $399, seeking to jump-start sales of its flagship product by enticing more users to upgrade, especially in high-growth markets such as China and India. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

There’s both good and bad news for Apple’s plans for the red hot Indian smartphone market: it still won’t be able to sell refurbished iPhones, but could get a waiver on the local sourcing norms that will allow it to open branded retail stores.

On Monday, India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, said the government is “not in favour of any company selling used phones in the country, however certified they may be.”

However, it plans to push for a waiver request for Apple that would allow the company to open branded stores in India. The waiver can be granted to companies deemed to have “cutting-edge” technology. India allows 100 percent foreign investment for single brand retail, but mandates that one-third of the components be procured in India, in part to boost local employment and industry.

India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) had recently permitted Apple to open retail stores in the country.

India’s fast-growing smartphone market has a huge growth potential with several foreign players vying for a piece, say analysts. However, it is flooded with many low-cost options; at least 19 Chinese smartphone makers currently sell in India, as we reported earlier. Apple’s share in the market is estimated to be around 3 per cent.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was also in India recently, and met with several senior government officials including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also announced its plans to open an iOS app development centre in Bengaluru during his visit.

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