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Apple’s refurbished iPhones plan for India gets an official rejection

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One of the main reasons for Apple CEO Tim Cook’s latest visit to India was to bring in new strategies that could help increase the market share of iPhones in the world’s second largest market. Cook’s primary focus, since the very beginning, was to convince the government to allow the Cupertino giant to sell refurbished iPhones. The request however, has been dismissed, and officially this time.

The tech giant first started showing interest in importing and selling refurbished iPhones in India last year bearing in mind the premium prices of its devices and the consumers of the country. While its initial plan was cool to go with, the company started facing stiff opposition from local brands as well as other vendors who formed a corporate body, that consisted of the likes of Micromax, Intex and Samsung among its numbers that aimed to prevent Apple from getting too far with its plans.

The application was first rejected by environment ministry with a statement pointing to the fact that the used phones, which are close to end-of-life, would contribute to India’s e-waste problems. After this, the company brought the plan back about a month ago. This time the telecommunications ministry was the one to dismiss the idea.

Hoping that third time’s the charm, Cook himself brought the proposal to the government stating that they are virtually practicing this in many other countries around the world. He also added that the phones would be imported from other places but refurbished and ‘made to be new’ right here in India. The devices, according to him, would also come with a warranty, the only difference being the price-point. But he still had to face rejection, this time from the commerce ministry.

We are not in favour of any company selling used phones in the country, however certified they may be.

commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a press conference.

This development came in close succession with the finance ministry insisting that Apple abide by the 30 percent local sourcing norm if it wants to open branded stores in India.

In Apple’s latest report, India was the only market with an increase in sales– 56 percent better than last year the same quarter. The company’s devices still account for just 2 percent of the market, though. Taking this into consideration, Apple has been trying to restructure the business in the subcontinent to increase efficiency of sale and reach a wider range of consumers.


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