Apple’s Plan to Sell Used iPhones in India Faces Backlash

iPhone 6 Launch India
Apple’s bid to increase its success in India by selling used iPhones hasn’t been well-received by local companies, who are concerned that the move will increase the amount of electronic waste and jeopardize their future. Industry executives are now fighting Apple’s plan.
Apple wants permission from the Indian government to import and sell used phones in the country. If it is granted that permission, it will be the first company that has been allowed to do business this way in India. But local mobile companies are hoping Apple won’t get its wish.
“A growing number of industry executives are fighting the move, warning government officials in private that it’ll open the floodgates to electronic waste, jeopardize local players, and make a farce of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India program to encourage local manufacturing,” reports Bloomberg.
Sudhir Hasija, chairman of Karbonn Mobiles, which sells around 1.7 million phones a month in India, says “Make in India could turn into Dump in India.”
Apple has become increasingly interested in selling the iPhone in India, the world’s second-largest mobile population, as growth slows in the U.S. and China. In fact, India has become a top priority as the Cupertino company looks to open its first retail stores there.
But locals are fighting to make things harder for Apple and prevent a potential threat to Indian companies. The Mobile and Communications Council, the main representative body for India’s electronics industry, is now opposing Apple’s application to sell used devices.
“Why even consider allowing import of used phones when import of other used goods such as cars are precluded by 300 percent duty levies?” asked chariman Ravinder Zutshi.
Apple has already had its application rejected once — back in 2015. But it is now under review again after the company resubmitted it with more details on its plans. As things stand, the application has gone to inter-ministerial discussion.
“That adds a layer of bureaucracy to a process that’s far from certain,” adds Bloomberg. “The government could go either way, though it’s encountering far greater local opposition than the first time around. The company declined to comment.”
One of the biggest concerns is that Apple’s plan will result in a deluge of used electronics imports, which would go against the prime minister’s localization drive. It could also have an environmental impact. “When destroyed, phones product toxic materials that India isn’t equipped to deal with.”
Apple already sells new iPhones in India through third-party retail partners, and although they’ve been doing okay, the company’s high price tags mean that it’s difficult to make a real footprint. Apple currently holds less than 2 percent of Indian smartphone market share.
Selling used devices could allow Apple to better compete with more affordable smartphones. Four-fifths of those sold in India cost less then $150 each, but despite that, Apple CEO Tim Cook still sees India as an “incredibly exciting” prospect.


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