India import hurdles hit Apple iPhone, Xiaomi devices from China

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India’s tight control of quality clearances for electronic products from China slowed the import of Apple’s brand new iPhone version a month and held up other goods made by companies like Xiaomi, according to two industry sources.

Applications to this quality control service, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), typically utilized to be processed in 15 days, but some are now taking up to two months or longer.

BIS began regretting approvals in August to get China-made imports of devices such as smartphones, smartwatches and laptops, part of the fallout from forging connections with China after a border conflict in June that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

Considering that the clash India has tightened rules for investments from China and banned countless Chinese mobile apps, such as from tech giants Tencent, Alibaba and ByteDance. It banned 43 more apps on Tuesday.

When Apple’s new iPhone 12 was caught from the delays, Apple India executives called on BIS to rate its approval up, giving assurances that the business would continue to expand its assembly operations in India, the two sources said.

It wasn’t clear just how long the iPhone 12 application was delayed, and Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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The company has assembly operations in India, but newer versions and the iPhone 12 are imported from China, in which contract manufacturers make the majority of Apple’s devices.

As of Wednesday, 1,080 applications to BIS for notebooks, tablet computers and other devices were pending, with 669 of these waiting over 20 days, according to the bureau’s website.

These included applications for devices from China-based factories of Wistron and Compal Electronics, also from Hangzhou Hikvision, the data showed.

A few of the applications for approval have been pending since September.


Indian dealers and Hindu nationalist groups have long called for Indices goods from China because of the boundary battle, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been promote self-reliance and local production.

“While the BIS is delaying approvals for products like smartwatches, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is pushing companies to make these devices in India,” said one of the resources.

Under BIS’s registration strategy, certain electronic goods – whether imported or locally created – want to meet specific criteria. After firms get their products tested in a certified lab, BIS approves the applications.

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Wistron and Compal did not respond to requests for comment.

BIS Director General Pramod Kumar Tiwari and India’s tech ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

The clearance delays will be the latest headache for tech companies whose supply chains were hit by the COVID-19 curbs, forcing some smartphone makers to resort to imports of models made in India. The delays also come through India’s festive season when customers make big ticket purchases of everything from cellular phones to gold and automobiles.

The BIS delays also have hit smartwatch imports for businesses such as Xiaomi and Oppo, both sources said.

Xiaomi and Oppo did not respond to requests for comment.

In July, India’s commerce ministry also restricted inbound shipments of TVs by requiring importers to get a special licence, a move that one of those sources said continues to hurt companies such as Xiaomi and Samsung Electronics.

Xiaomi was denied that the specific licence to import roughly 30,000 units of TVs, while Samsung has confronted similar import hurdles, the source stated.

Samsung did not respond to a request for comment.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘India import hurdles hit Apple iPhone, Xiaomi devices from China‘ article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal and Aditya Kalra. Additional reporting by Aditi Shah. Editing by Euan Rocha and Tom Hogue.

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