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India Imposes Import Restrictions on Laptops, Tablets in Bid to Boost Local Manufacturing

In order to promote the development of local manufacturing, the Indian government recently decided to impose restrictions on the import of some personal computer products . Under the new policy, imports of everything from laptops to tablets must be licensed.
This is the latest in a series of measures taken by the Indian government to encourage local electronics production. Although the Indian government notification did not specify the reason for the move, the move is widely seen as another step by the Modi government to boost local manufacturing under the “Make in India” initiative.

India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry (the Ministry of Commerce and Industry) issued a notice on the 3rd local time saying that importers will now need to apply for a license to bring laptops, tablets, personal computers and other electronic devices into the country. The new policy follows years of policies aimed at discouraging the import of foreign electronics, including imposing steep tariffs on them. India had imposed similar restrictions on smart TV imports in 2020, the report said.
The notice issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade of India also shows that buyers need to obtain a license to import notebook computers, tablet computers, all-in-one computers, ultra-small computers and servers. This policy has taken effect immediately. The agency also said that certain types of computers designated as “capital goods,” such as machine tools, MRI machines and other control computers that come with them, are exempt from the rule. However, no specific exemption conditions were given.

According to a Reuters report, from April to June this year, India’s electronic product imports amounted to US$19.7 billion, an increase of 6.25% over the same period in 2022.
It is reported that before the introduction of the above-mentioned restrictive measures, the Indian side had taken measures to increase the import tariffs on various complete machine products such as smartphones and personal computers many years ago, so as to force relevant manufacturers to choose to import parts and components to India for local production. Assembly manufacturing. While continuing to raise tariffs, the Indian government has also adopted relevant incentive policies to attract complete machine brand manufacturers to invest and build factories locally.
The new policy aims to capitalize on India’s demand for laptops, tablets and servers to make India an export hub for electronics. The last date to apply for the production incentives for these products is August 30.
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Will India’s New Import Regulations on Laptops
Boost Local Manufacturing?
The new regulations promulgated by India this time are considered by the outside world to be likely to dampen the investment enthusiasm of enterprises by forcing the previously recruited international semiconductor giants to increase the degree of localization in India. Apple, Dell and Samsung did not respond to requests for comment.
According to industry insiders, even with the above-mentioned import restrictions, the Indian government’s current “excessive force” intervention style in promoting the country’s high-end manufacturing industry makes it difficult for it to cultivate the next “Foxconn” in the short term. India is a semi-open market, not a fully open market, which will hinder India’s development in manufacturing and technology.

At present, India’s own electronic consumer goods still rely on overseas imports. According to the United Nations COMTRADE international trade database, India’s imports of electrical and electronic equipment will be US$69.68 billion in 2022. Counterpoint estimates that the Indian notebook and PC market is worth $8 billion a year, of which two-thirds are imported.
According to public data from the Indian government, India’s imports of laptops, tablets and personal computers account for about 1.5% of India’s total annual imports, and nearly half of them come from China. In terms of brands, according to data released by market research agency IDC, in the first quarter of 2023, HP and Dell will occupy the first and third positions in the Indian PC market with a share of 33.8% and 13.9%, respectively. However, apart from these two brands, the rest of the top five brands are from China. Among them, Lenovo ranked second with 15.7%, Acer and ASUS ranked fourth and fifth respectively. Chinese brands accounted for about 34.6% of the PC market share in India.
In the mobile phone market in India, Chinese brands still occupy an important market share. Taking mobile phones as an example, according to Counterpoint’s research data, in the second quarter of 2023, vivo will rank second in the overall Indian market, and OPPO will become the top brand in the mid-to-high-end mobile phone market in India with a 21% market share.
Under the current background, restricting the import of related products from India will inevitably cause people to worry about the difficulty of implementing the new regulations.

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