The Indian government recently rejected the iPhone maker’s request to flood the Indian market with used smartphones. Regulators argued that the move would have a negative impact on the country’s economy and undermine its ‘Make in India’ program.
The announcement was made Tuesday by an official of the Indian telecommunications ministry. The official, who agreed to speak under the condition of anonymity, said Apple’s application was rejected for the second time in two years.
The U.S. tech company has made a similar move last year, but the effort has failed when the environment ministry rejected the proposal. Apple couldn’t be reached for comment.
Apple’s competitors in India have lobbied against the efforts to bring used iPhones into the country ever since. They argued that the plan would undermine the government-sponsored effort dubbed ‘Make in India,’ which is designed to support local manufacturing.
The decision is not good news for the U.S. phone maker as iPhones account only for 2 percent of mobile phone shipments to India since the Indian market does not tolerate well the hefty price of Apple’s smartphones. So, a $150 refurbished iPhone might have just solved the problem.
Apple is currently desperately looking for new markets to sell its devices as smartphone sales leveled off worldwide. And India is the world’s second largest smartphone market.
In another push, the U.S. company filed a request with Indian authorities to be allowed to open a chain of retail stores in the country. But that could also undermine the local economy as it would put the tech giant in direct competition with local vendors. Plus, Apple cannot lower prices of new phones as it would be against its policy and it could damage its image.
Apple’s rivals also argued that importing used iPhones would not only harm the local economy but also the environment. They explained that the used devices will have to have their batteries replaced resulting in a mountain of e-waste that India doesn’t have the logistics to deal with. And the same goes for LCD screens and other hardware parts.
Apple planned to bring in India used phones from North America, where for a small monthly fee Americans are now able to upgrade their older smartphones under a new program. Apple expected up to 15 million units to be traded-in under the program in the U.S. alone. And for India it had plans to sell 10 million devices by 2017.
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