Apple’s Plan To Sell Used iPhones Faces Opposition In India
As Apple plans to penetrate the Indian market with sales of refurbished or used iPhones, the world’s biggest tech company is facing stiff opposition from local stakeholders from all quarters.
In 2015, the company applied to become the first company to import and sell used iPhones in the country, but the environment ministry rejected its request, claimed a Bloomberg report .
In 2016, Apple is making another push to sell used iPhones in the country and reportedly, the company is faced with stiff resistance from local players who claim that it will create a lot of ‘electronic waste, jeopardise local players and make a farce of Prime Minister Modi’s Make in India plan’.
“Make in India could turn into Dump in India,” said Sudhir Hasija, chairman of Karbonn Mobiles, to Bloomberg , underlining the stance of the local players.
Currently refurbished iPhones are sold in India, but they are sold by local third parties like ReGlobe who have no direct connection with Apple. Apple likely wants a pie of this market because it will likely reduce the cost of owning an iPhone.
Apple currently holds less than 2 per cent of the Indian smartphone market has struggled to gain meaningful market share because of the premium attached with owning an iPhone.
With the growth of the iPhone business slowing down in big markets like China and US, India is an important market for the Cupertino based giant as India is the second largest smartphone market in the world. The iPhone business accounts for more than half of Apple’s revenue, which makes it critical to the future of the company.
Apple has also applied to get permission open single brand retail stores in India. The company is likely to soon get permission to open its iconic Apple stores in the country.
For Apple these phones are also different from standard refurbished phones. Apple has been running something called the ‘Certified Pre owned iPhone’ programme, where the phone doesn’t only go to the factory where most of its components are changed at times, but the phone also comes with a new IEMI number.
Despite the low market share, and premium attached to the iPhone, Apple managed to increase its sales by 76 per cent in the last quarter.
On April 8, Apple will also start selling the iPhone SE for Rs 39,000, which will become one of the cheapest iPhone models sold in India.
Sensing Apple’s heightened interest in India the electronics manufacturing industry recently set up a lobbying arm, which is lobbying against Apple’s plans to sell used iPhones in the country.
“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 Ravinder Zutshi, chairman of the newly formed Mobile and Communications Council.
At the moment, Apple’s application has gone through inter ministerial discussion, which means its application could go either ways.
One of the biggest issues with Apple’s application is that it wants to import refurbished phones. Local players believe that will be counterproductive to PM Modi’s Make in India. Even global manufacturing giants like Foxconn are in the early stages of manufacturing phones in India.
Apple, however, in its application has argued that it will set up facilities that will take in discarded phones and refurbish them. Apple is also an industry leader when it comes down to environment friendly practices and recycling products. During the iPhone SE launch event, the company also showcased a robot named Liam who disassembles iPhones.