Two industry sources said that India’s strict control over the speed of customs clearance of electronic products imported from China slowed the import of Apple’s new iPhone last month and inhibited other products produced by companies such as Xiaomi.
Applications to the Quality Control Agency, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) are usually processed within the past 15 days, but now some applications may take two months or more.
The Bank for International Settlements began in August postponing the approval of China’s imports of smartphones, smart watches and laptops. This is part of the impact of the deterioration of relations with China after the border conflict in June resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers.
Since the conflict, India has strengthened its regulations on investment in China and banned hundreds of Chinese mobile apps, including tech giants Tencent, Alibaba, and Bytedance. It banned another 43 applications on Tuesday.
Two sources said that when Apple’s new iPhone 12 was delayed, Apple’s Indian executives called on the Bank for International Settlements to speed up the approval process to ensure that the company would continue to expand its assembly operations in India.
It is not clear how long the iPhone 12 application was delayed, and Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
The company has an assembly business in India, but the newer models and iPhone 12 are imported from China, and contract manufacturers produce most of Apple’s equipment.
According to the agency’s website, as of Wednesday, 1,080 BIS applications for laptops, tablets and other devices are under review, of which 669 applications have waited for more than 20 days.
The data shows that these include Wistron and Compal’s factories in China and Hangzhou Hikvision’s equipment applications.
Since September, some approval applications are still awaiting.
Call for boycott
Due to border conflicts, Indian businessmen and Hindu nationalist organizations have been calling for a boycott of products imported from China for months, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi has continued to promote self-reliance and local production.
One of the sources said: “Although the Bank for International Settlements has delayed the approval of smart watches and other products, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is still pushing the company to manufacture these devices in India.”
According to the registration plan of the Bank for International Settlements, certain electronic products, whether imported or locally manufactured, need to meet certain standards. After the company tests the products in an accredited laboratory, BIS approves these applications.
Wistron and Compal did not respond to requests for comment. Hikvision declined to comment.
The Director-General of the Bank for International Settlements Pramod Kumar Tiwari and the Ministry of Science and Technology of India did not respond to requests for comment.
For those technology companies whose supply chain has been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, customs clearance delays are the latest nuisance, which forces some smartphone manufacturers to even import models made in India. This delay also appeared during Indian festivals, when customers bought a wide range of goods from mobile phones to gold and cars.
Two sources said the delays by the Bank for International Settlements also hit the import of smart watches from companies such as Xiaomi and Oppo.
Neither Xiaomi nor Oppo responded to requests for comment.
In July, the Indian Ministry of Trade also restricted the inbound transportation of TV sets by requiring importers to obtain special permits. One source said that this action continued to hurt companies such as Xiaomi and Samsung.
According to sources, Xiaomi has not obtained a special license to import about 30,000 TV sets, and Samsung faces similar import obstacles.
Samsung did not respond to a request for comment.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
The iPhone 12 Pro series is amazing, but why is it so expensive in India? We discussed on the weekly technical podcast Orbital, you can subscribe via Apple Podcast, Google Podcast or RSS, download the episode, or click the play button below.