• Hazardous e-waste: Apple can’t import or sell second-hand phones in India

    The government has sounded out Apple that it is in-principle against allowing import and sale of second-hand phones in India to prevent dumping of hazardous electronic waste.

    This deals a setback to the smartphone maker’s expansion plans in a market where it sees huge potential amid overall slowdown of its sales.

    “We conveyed our views on the matter and the representatives respected our stand,” a senior government official said.

    The government’s views come as a dampener for Apple which has aggressive expansion plans in the fastest growing smartphone market in the world where the Cupertino-based smartphone maker sees huge potential.

    This would be the second time Apple faced a roadblock to importing pre-owned certified or refurbished iPhones in a country where the US technology company seeks out price-conscious Indian consumers to grow its base.

    Apple declined to comment to ET’s query. The company had sought permission from the government to import second hand iPhones for sale in India, a country where its sales are doubling on-year and where it plans to bring its iconic retail stores too.

    ET had reported last month that the views of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DietY) views were communicated to the environment ministry and the Director General of Foreign Trade, that it did not support import of second-hand consumer products as it contributed to electronic waste being dumped in India.

    Handset makers in India had also opposed Apple’s move arguing that the move could potentially flood the market with second hand phones, severely hampering the government’s Make in India program that is aimed at encouraging local manufacturing.

    The American company, which has about 2% share of the booming Indian smartphone market by volume, has set its sights on India which CEO Tim Cook said separately on Tuesday, had “huge market potential” for its products.

    Apple has continued to climb in India, and has increased shipments by 56% to make it the second fastest-growing vendor in the top 10 in the first quarter, Singapore-based research firm Canalys said Tuesday.

    The iPhone and iPad maker is closing the gap with market leader Samsung in the over $300 (Rs 20,000) segment where it grew its market share to 29% in the first quarter of 2016, from 11% a year ago. Samsung’s market share in the same category fell from 66% in the first quarter of 2015 to 41% in the same period of 2016.

    India is important for the technology giant and it is “really putting energy” in the South Asian nation that will begin rolling out high-speed wireless broadband networks this year, Cook said in a TV interview with a US channel.

    Cook said that the company has “great innovation” in the pipeline and new iPhones that will attract people in markets like India, equally recognizing India’s massive young demographic as a ready market.

    “India will be the most populous country in the world in 2022. India today has about 50% of their population at 25 years of age or younger. It’s a very young country. People really want smartphones there,” he said. Comments on India came on the back of iPhone sales growing 56% year-on-year. Ian Thomas Womens Jersey

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