India has rejected a plan by Apple to import used iPhones, government officials said, a blow to the US technology giant which has been seeking to revive flagging sales of its flagship smartphones.
Apple sells what it calls refurbished iPhones at a discount in some countries including the United States, and extending this practice to India would have likely helped it gain market share against competitors with much cheaper offerings.
India, which has been pushing a ‘Make in India’ initiative to enhance the competitiveness of its manufacturing industry, rejected the proposal citing rules against importing used electronics.
“India does not encourage dumping or recycling of hazardous materials,” NN Kaul, a spokesman for India’s telecom ministry said.
An Apple spokeswoman in Singapore did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
In India, the average smartphone sells for less than US$150. By contrast, the newly launched iPhone SE sells for a suggested retail price of 39,000 rupees ($585) in India – also much higher than its US price of $399 due to import duties and distribution costs.
Refurbished iPhones are usually devices that have been returned by buyers or are repaired to factory condition after damage.
Apple’s proposal was opposed by domestic phone makers who claim selling used iPhones would breach India’s anti-dumping rules. The Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association had written to India’s telecom ministry to stall the move.