India’s information technology minister, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, recently announced import restrictions on personal computers and tablets in an effort to reduce dependence on imports and boost domestic manufacturing of these products. The move could potentially impact hardware sales for global giants like Apple and Samsung in one of the world’s largest consumer electronics markets.
Laptops and tablets are among the electronics that will now require a license for import into India, as per a government notice published on Thursday. Chandrasekhar highlighted that India is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for digital products and emphasized the government’s aim to ensure the use of “trusted” hardware and systems.
In response to the new regulations, companies such as Apple and Samsung, as well as HP, may need to obtain licenses to import laptops and tablets into India. However, none of these companies have officially responded to the restrictions at the time of reporting. Bloomberg had earlier reported that these companies were among those freezing imports of restricted products to India.
The Indian government is keen on positioning the country as a high-tech manufacturing hub, attracting global technology firms with incentives. Already, Apple has shifted some manufacturing of its latest iPhones to India, and Foxconn, the main assembler of Apple’s iPhones, recently announced a $600 million investment in India for phone manufacturing and a semiconductor equipment facility.
While the move is part of India’s efforts to promote domestic manufacturing, it could lead to short-term price increases and supply crunches for certain products, especially with the Diwali festive season approaching in early November. Analysts predict that the festive season, accounting for one-fifth of annual sales for these products, could be affected by the new import restrictions. Local assembly and obtaining licenses for these brands may take time, potentially leading to disruptions in offers and discounts during the festive season due to possible demand and supply mismatches.