India Denies Apple’s Request to Sell Refurbished iPhones

Apple is trying hard to make a presence in the smartphone market of India, which is the world’s quickest growing market. With its high prices and competition from other International brands like Samsung, HTC, ASUS, Huawei and local brands like Micromax, Karbonn and Reliance LYF capturing huge potions, Apple has a very small market share in the Indian smartphone market.

Tim Cook and Apple have the desire to sell refurbished iPhones in the country, in order to bring down the entry prices of the devices for people who are looking to buy their first iPhone. Tim Cook recently admitted the fact that iPhones are quite overpriced in the Indian market. Even though Tim Cook recently visited India where he met some very notable figures including the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has declined to provide Apple with the permission to start selling refurbished iPhones in the country.

The duties and the taxes and the compounding of those takes the price and it makes it very high. Our profitability is less in India, it’s materially less, but still I recognize that prices are high,” said Tim Cook, in an interview with the Indian news network NDTV. “We want to do things that lower that over time, to the degree that we can. I want the consumer in India to be able to buy Apple products at a price that looks like the U.S. price.”

At a press conference in New Delhi on Monday, the Commerce and Industry minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government has rejected Apple’s proposal to sell refurbished iPhones in the country. She said that no company will be allowed to sell used devices in India, and they can’t make any exception for Apple and its plan to sell refurbished iPhones.

We are not in favor of any company selling used phones in the country, however certified they may be,” the Commerce and Industry Minister commented.

Apple had big plans to attract the Indian customers by selling refurbished iPhones to grow in the smartphone market of India where price point and affordability of devices are the primary concerns for the customers. The new iPhone is currently available for about $700 in India where the vast majority of smartphones sold have a price less than $150. With the refurbished models, Apple had a better chance to attract the price sensitive customers of India, with rumors speculating that the refurbished iPhones will cost as low as $200.

The decision comes just days after the Indian government decided not to exempt Apple from a local rule requiring that 30 percent of goods sold by foreign companies are to be manufactured or produced within the country. India last year exempted retailers selling state-of-the-art goods from the rule, prompting Apple to file a new application in hopes of opening single-brand retail outlets in India. The finance ministry said that the company has to source 30 percent of its components locally if it wants to open retail stores in India.

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