There’s no doubt that India is a major market for technology. While the country has its own brand preferences outside of the world’s usual, everyone still wants to get a piece of the market. To the dismay of global companies, the country is realizing the potential of its own market. Effective immediately, India has started restricting imports for new laptops, tablets, and PCs.
Recently, India made some headlines in the smartphone industry. A few companies, including Apple, have poured funds into building factories in India. Locally produced devices will allow these companies to attract the Indian market better. With the new regulations out today, it looks like these brands are going to enjoy a head start over others who aren’t in the country yet.
The Indian government introduced a new restriction (via Reuters) against the importation of “laptops, tablets, all-in-one personal computers, and ultra-small form factor computers and servers” made from other countries. Customers, however, will get an exemption. Airline passengers can still bring in these devices in their luggage. Additionally, a single imported device is allowable when bought through e-commerce platforms. Companies can import their products only by applying for a special license.
In a nutshell, bulk orders without a license are out. The government is instead encouraging users to buy locally produced products as part of its “Make in India” program. At the very least, it’s not a total ban on foreign brands. For example, Dell, HP, and Lenovo are exempt from the regulations since they already have production facilities built in the country.
Samsung overtakes Xiaomi as top phone brand in India
As of Q4 2022
Attacking a huge smartphone market is difficult. With preferences constantly evolving, it can get tricky to figure out the best lineup to capture most of a market. Samsung, however, has just done it. In the last quarter of 2022, Samsung has taken the crown from Xiaomi as the bestselling smartphone brand in India.
India is an important market for most smartphone brands. It’s one of the largest markets in the world. However, despite its size, the biggest players are often those who offer more affordable devices for consumers. Budget is the name of the game if a brand wants to make it big in the country.
Things are changing, though. According to new market data (via Reuters), Samsung has nabbed the throne from the former leader, Xiaomi. In the last quarter of 2022, the Korean brand grabbed 20 percent of the market, while the latter only got 18 percent.
In a trend dubbed as premiumization, Indian consumers are reportedly enjoying more disposable income, resulting in more willingness to buy pricier products. Additionally, the report hints that consumers have started equating lower prices with inferior quality.
With the market trending towards more premium products, Samsung took the lead with a lineup that consists more of midrange to premium devices. It will also be interesting to see if Apple, an even more premium brand, can also make a dent in the Indian market.
SEE ALSO: Buyer’s Guide: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Apple is preparing to open its first stores in India
Based on new job listings
For one of the largest smartphone markets in the world, India is one of the rarer countries where Apple does not outright dominate. Undoubtedly, the company is trying to change that. Ongoing job listings in India are suggesting that Apple is ready to open its first brick-and-mortar store in the country.
First reported by Financial Times, Apple has posted job openings in India for several retail roles including for the iconic Genius Bar. Another clue even indicates that some spots have already been filled ahead of time. A few employees in the country have reportedly posted about their new jobs on LinkedIn.
Unfortunately, none of the job listings show how many stores are planned and where they will be. Narrowing things down by a bit, a few of the confirmed employees are from Mumbai and New Delhi. The report also does not indicate when the stores will open. However, since a few have already been hired, a grand opening might be coming soon.
Apple has a lot to gain by strengthening its foothold in India. The country is an important stronghold for smartphone companies. However, the company might find things harder as time goes by. The country recently dictated that brands must switch to USB-C if they want to sell their devices in India. All over the world, Apple remains the last stalwart against adopting the more universal standard.
India to enforce USB-C on all phones by 2024
Smartphones and wearables affected
Last year, the European Union made a lot of waves by announcing the impending enforcement of USB-C across all devices sold in the region. Other countries, such as Brazil, joined in by pondering its own version of the same policy. Then, as 2022 wound to a definitive close, India, skipping a more deliberative phase, has announced a sweeping enforcement of USB-C coming in 2025.
In approximately two years’ time, most devices sold within India must use USB-C ports (via Business Standard). More specifically, Indian lawmakers have included smartphones and wearables as part of the new policy. Like policies in other countries, India’s policy revolves around the drive to reduce e-waste from devices.
Naturally, as is the case in other countries, Apple is the brand most affected by the ruling. While most Android-based smartphones already use USB-C across the board, Apple’s device still rely on the proprietary Lightning cable, severing a significant chunk of the populating from the more universal standard.
The country is nothing to shrug off, either. India is one of the largest smartphone markets in the world. Though Android is much more prevalent than Apple, India’s new policy is certainly a significant speed bump for the iPhone maker.
Though Apple has publicly protested against the new policies, the company has also confirmed that it will comply with the new rules. While it has a slightly lengthier timeframe in India, the brand has to comply in the European Union by the end of 2024.
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