Exclusive: barriers to import from India hit Apple iPhone, Xiaomi devices from China, the sources say

    NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian tight control of quality authorizations for electronic products from China slowed Apple’s import is new iPhone model last month and held up other products made by companies like Xiaomi, according to two industry sources.

    Requests to the quality control agency, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), were typically processed within 15 days, but some now take up to two months or more.

    BRI began delaying approvals in August for Chinese imports of devices such as smartphones, smartwatches and laptops, part of the fallout from the deterioration of ties with China after a border clash in June which resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers.

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    After the clash, India tightened its investment rules from China and has banned hundreds of Chinese mobile apps, including from tech giants Tencent, Alibaba and ByteDance. On Tuesday, it banned 43 more apps.

    when Apple is new iPhone 12 was caught in delays, Apple Indian executives have asked the BIS to speed up its approval, ensuring the company will continue to expand its assembly operations in India, the two sources said.

    It was not clear how long the file iPhone 12 the application was delayed and Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

    The company has assembly operations in India, but the newer models and the iPhone 12 are imported from China, where contract manufacturers make the most of Appled devices.

    As of Wednesday, 1,080 applications to BIS for laptops, tablets and other devices were pending, with 669 of those pending for more than 20 days, according to the agency’s website.

    These included device applications from The Chinese plants of Wistron and Compal Electronics e from Hangzhou Hikvision, the data showed.

    Some of the approval requests have been pending since September.


    Indian traders and Hindu nationalist groups have been calling for a boycott of imported products for months from China due to the border clash, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to promote self-sufficiency and local production.

    “While the BRI is delaying approvals for products like smartwatches, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is pushing companies to make these devices in India, “one of the sources said.

    Under the BIS registration regime, some electronic products, imported or locally produced, must meet certain standards. After the companies have tested their products in a certified laboratory, BIS approves the applications.

    Wistron and Compal did not respond to requests for comment. Hikvision declined to comment.

    BIS Director General Pramod Kumar Tiwari and the Indian Ministry of Technology did not respond to requests for comment.

    Delays in customs clearance are the latest headache for tech companies whose supply chains have been hit by the COVID-19 curbs, prompting some smartphone manufacturers to resort to importing models also made in India. Delays also occur during India’s holiday season, when customers make large ticket purchases of everything from cell phones to gold and cars.

    The delays from the BRI have also affected smartwatch imports for companies like Xiaomi and Oppo, the two sources said.

    Xiaomi and Oppo did not respond to requests for comment.

    In July, India’s ministry of trade also restricted inbound shipments of televisions by requiring importers for a special license, a move one of the sources said continues to hurt companies like Xiaomi and Samsung Electronics.

    Xiaomi was denied the special license to import around 30,000 units of TVs, while Samsung faced similar import hurdles, the source said.

    Samsung did not respond to a request for comment.

    Reports by Sankalp Phartiyal and Aditya Kalra; Additional reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Euan Rocha and Tom Hogue

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