Apple still hopes to sell refurbished iPhones in India; awaits official decision by government

Apple still hopes to sell refurbished iPhones in India; awaits official decision by government
Earlier this week, we passed along a report that cited a telecommunications ministry official in India who reportedly said that Apple's application to sell refurbished iPhones in India was rejected. But a different story can be found in today's Wall Street Journal, which says that the Indian government is still mulling over Apple's application. Several ministers are looking over Apple's request including India’s minister for environment, forest and climate change, and an official at India's Telecom Ministry. Obviously, this isn't the same guy who told Bloomberg earlier this week that the application was declined.

The Apple iPhone 5s was the company's top seller in India during Q1

The Apple iPhone 5s was the company's top seller in India during Q1

While 70% of the smartphones sold in the country last year cost less than $150, a new Apple iPhone is priced in the range of $500 to $1000 in India. By offering low priced refurbished iPhones in the country, Apple hopes to grow its market share from the current 2% that it currently owns in India. For the company's fiscal second quarter, iPhone sales rose by 56% in the country. Apple's best-seller in the market is the Apple iPhone 5s. Priced at $300, the phone accounted for half of Apple's handset sales in India from January through March. Overall, the quarter produced the first year-over-year decline in the history of the iPhone.

According to Strategy Analytics, 149 million smartphones will be sold in India this year, up 26% from last year's figure. By next year, the country will overtake the U.S. to become the second largest smartphone market in the world, behind China. But that doesn't mean that consumers in the country have money to spend on Apple's smartphone. With a per-capita income of $1500, iPhone prices can consume a chunk of an Indian smartphone buyer's cash. And while Apple is trying to replace the iPhone 5s with the Apple iPhone SE, the newer 4-inch model carries a price tag north of $500.

This is why Apple is trying hard to gain the approval required to sell refurbished iPhone units in India. But approval is not a sure thing. Besides worrying about Apple importing electronic waste, the government wants to protect its own smartphone manufacturers like Micromax. The latter builds low-priced Android phones in the country.

source: WSJ

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20 Comments

1. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1182; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

Well, if it clearly states it is refurbished in the webpage or sale adverts, I don't really see what might be the problem. Indian government is trying really hard to push the local brands, so I guess lower prices for foreign brands would hurt their sales. That's why they don't want apple to sell refurbished iPhones. Btw, a quick note, Indian government charges insane taxes on any foreign gadget, even higher than the Chinese government.

3. nepalisherpa

Posts: 334; Member since: Jul 17, 2015

It's possible that Samsung may have paid more to Indian government. Link:http://www.macrumors.com/2016/04/04/samsung-lobbies-india-deny-apple-used-iphones/

5. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

India generate a lot of e waste.. And our govt policy relating to import sucks.. Still on one hand, Samsung sells devices at prices approx same or many times cheaper than in most countries, Apple is literally looting. iPhone SE has a price tag of Rs. 39000 or approx $620. S7 sells for $770. iPhone 6s had launch price over $1000 and add about $130 for plus model.

6. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1182; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

Wow, that's pretty high price for the iPhone, I wonder if this is only Apple being greedy or it has something to do with the government. Samsung did penetrate the Indian market way before Apple did and maybe they struck some deal with government? Who knows

10. Dingy_cellar_dweller

Posts: 339; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

apple just want to sell an over price phone twice, you know two bytes of the apple.

8. sgodsell

Posts: 6649; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

There is no carrier subsidies on any smartphones in India. Not like there is in North America. If iPhones didn't have carrier subsidies in North America, then Apple would never had sold so many iPhones in the first place. Now when it comes to older iPhones like the iPhone 5s, 5c, and even the iPhone 6/6+. Those devices all have only 1gb of RAM, and with Apple Swift runtime and if you have bought an Apple watch, then 1gb of RAM is crap for things like Swift or multitasking, and trying to run watch apps. I guess that's why Apple is forcing all developers to make native watch apps instead. It will be interesting to see if Apples new iPhone 7 will have more than 2gb of RAM. If it does my point will be proven, and buying those 1gb iPhones is a waste of money. Apple is all about profits, so they give you as little as possible for specs to increase their profits.

19. kishore3k

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 11, 2016

No not really . APPLE cannot import directly from China first they have to import honkkong or Singapore from China then Singapore or Hong Kong to India. High price is not because of Apple ,have to blame resellers here in India though apple is not officially here in India. Resellers are using Apple's brand value for luxury price . If apple comes to India means this will change. Also Indian govt. Is giving lot of subsidy for make in India. Vat is only 5.5% wherearea's for made in China its 14.5%. Also there is 14% import taxes for made in China products. For importing components for assembling the phone its only about 1%

2. bikrame

Posts: 38; Member since: Aug 13, 2015

Give one free iphones to all high end government officials and they will allow it. that's how it works in South Asian countries ! Before someone shows up and start bashing me , I am south asian and i know how corrupt they are !

4. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

Huh.. If you do not know, all high end officials, ibcluding professors in good govt colleges can get any phone they want for free and change it every year :p

7. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Apple really needs this go through in India to shore up their profit margins if they want to retain investor interest to the recent levels they've enjoyed. Their stock's down again today to 93.24, dropping their market cap to $510.72B. That's still a metric butt-load, however... since there are a few Apple devotees that love to mention market cap, consider this... just a few days ago, maybe a week, their market cap was over $540B. In one week, $30B was lost. $30B. Lost.

26. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

thats a lots of money lost!

9. tejadaku

Posts: 8; Member since: Oct 19, 2014

FORCE THEM TO MAKE IT IN INDIA. ITS 1.25 BILLION PEOPLE. IF THEY WANNA SELL PHONE. MAKE THEM MOVE SOME PRODUCTION FROM CHINA TO INDIA. TIL THEN KEEP REJECTING. :D

13. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1182; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

It's not that easy, apple does not manufacture it, foxconn and another company does (forgot the name). No other assembly (manufacture) in the world can meet apple's demand, so if foxconn doesn't move to India, iPhones will never be assembled in India. People only means manpower, but it doesn't mean technical work power. India still has probably over 75% of the population either in slumbers, working as servant (house workers), rickshaw pullers etc (low technical work). If the Indian government doesn't somehow sweeten the deal for foreign manufacturer, they won't ever be attracted to India, to invest or create a manufacturing plant there, because if they want to manufacture in India, they have to train workers from the scratch. India was never into electrical technical manufacturing before, so it would be hard for the foreign manufacturer. Then again, thats y I said Indian government has to think wisely to attract them.

21. kishore3k

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 11, 2016

No not really . APPLE cannot import directly from China first they have to import honkkong or Singapore from China then Singapore or Hong Kong to India. High price is not because of Apple ,have to blame resellers here in India though apple is not officially here in India. Resellers are using Apple's brand value for luxury price . If apple comes to India means this will change. Also Indian govt. Is giving lot of subsidy for make in India. Vat is only 5.5% wherearea's for made in China its 14.5%. Also there is 14% import taxes for made in China products. For importing components for assembling the phone its only about 1% . .Foxconn has 2 assembly units here (vizag and Chennai). They are setting another plant in Pune which is going to be bigger than thier China plant.

11. iLovesarcasm

Posts: 589; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

That is illegal, paying for substandard devices.

12. SIGPRO

Posts: 2809; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Apple can't handle a NO.....ignorant fools! Apple you lost and the iphone is doomed.......period!

18. vishalaestro

Posts: 81; Member since: Dec 08, 2013

using just an apple product is a lifestyle statement here in India,even ads and other photo shoots shows only apple phone and laptops.

20. mahima

Posts: 708; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

you cannot used Indian flag anyway you like as you did it with american flag...please have some respect and remove the picture

22. rkoforever90

Posts: 407; Member since: Dec 03, 2011

I thought people in india can't afford smartphones, I read somewhere that majority of population earns under 3$ per day

23. Phantom1031

Posts: 263; Member since: Aug 02, 2014

Apple can still try but they can't beat Micromax and Samsung all together. Even their refurbished phones price will be way over then affordable prices by the above mentioned companies. I remember they tried to sell iphone 4s 8gb version and iphone 5c 8 gb version for hell lot of price. I don't know how much success they had?

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