India to restrict sale of Chinese smartphone from sub-$150 phone market

DHARAMSALA, 10 Aug: India is seeking to restrict Chinese smartphone makers from selling devices cheaper than 12,000 rupees ($150) to kickstart its faltering domestic industry, reports Bloomberg News.

The move is aimed at pushing Chinese giants out of the lower segment of the world’s second-biggest mobile market, and it could spell trouble for Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, the report added citing unidentified sources.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the report added that “it coincides with mounting concern about high-volume brands like Realme and Transsion undercutting local manufacturers”.

Though it is unclear whether India will announce any policies or use informal channels to convey its preference to Chinese companies, India has previously employed unofficial means to ban Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. telecom equipment, the report added.

The exclusion from India’s entry-level market would spell trouble for the Chinese smartphone manufacturers, the report said as in recent years they have “increasingly relied on India to drive growth while their home market endures a series of COVID-19 lockdowns that crippled consumption”.

According to market tracker Counterpoint, smartphones under $150 contributed to a third of India’s sales volume for the quarter through June 2022, with Chinese companies accounting for up to 80 per cent of those shipments.

Chinese firms operating in India, such as Xiaomi and rivals Oppo and Vivo have already been under New Delhi’s close scrutiny of their finances which has led to tax demands and money laundering allegations, the report added.

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