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Apple Seeks To Bring Refurbished Devices To India, Faces Stiff Local Resistance

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Apple is intent upon breaking into the burgeoning Indian market by any means possible. After realizing that it’s premium iPhones were a tad too expensive for the price conscious market, the company embarked upon the strategy of flooding the country with cheaper, refurbished devices. However, its facing stiff resistance from a consortium of Indian mobile makers, who aren’t too happy with the idea.

Apple, which has been seeking permission to enter the market with its refurbished devices since the previous year years, had been rebuffed by the Indian government on its last attempt. However, the company hasn’t given up yet and is looking to become the first company that is allowed to import and sell used phones into the country.

However, local players — understandably — are completely against allowing anything of the sort, and are doing everything in their power to ensure that such an event does not take place. Unluckily for Apple, they also have a bunch of seemingly legitimate arguments in their favour.

Whats more, the cause of foiling Apple’s bid has given the extremely competitive mobile manufacturers in India, something to rally about. A corporate body, that counts the likes of Micromax, Intex and Samsung among its numbers, has been formed and is actively lobbying to ensure that Apple does no better than its last attempt.

In a letter to the government, Ravinder Zutshi, chairman of the Mobile and Communications Council, said

Why even consider allowing import of used phones when import of other used goods such as cars are precluded by 300 percent duty levies?

However, import duties barely scratches the surface of the body’s complaints against Apple.

First off, the body says that if allowed, the move will completely go against PM Modi’s Make In India drive. After all, while other manufacturers are busy setting up shop in India to conform to the government’s home grown drive, allowing Apple to import used iPhones would be a gross contradiction, or so say the local players.

Next up, is the issue caused due to the toxic wastes. Mobile device contain a whole load of metals and other material that are extremely harmful to the environment, unless handled properly. India, unfortunately lacks the infrastructure and the facilities needed to handle such an issue.

Speaking on the topic, Sunil Vachani, chairman of Dixon Technologies, said

The millions of imported used phones will need their batteries replaced. What will happen to those batteries, where will they go?

Adding that he was personally, against any change in the government’s policy.

However, what may be the most important reason didn’t find any particular mention on the council’s agenda. Apple’s bringing in its iPhones, refurbished though they may be, is going to hurt local manufacturers. After all, if you could get your hands on an iPhone for around the same cost as an Android, who wouldn’t go for it?

From Apple’s perspective, the company recently started a scheme where US customers can exchange their older iPhones for newer variants in exchange for a small monthly fee. And what better place to use the incoming devices than selling them again in developing countries, at a profit.

Well, let’s see what happens this time around. The ball is in the government’s hands now. However, one thing is for sure, the increased local opposition isn’t going to help Apple’s chances.

A bibliophile and a business enthusiast.

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