Mumbai: After the recent Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) action against duty evasion by Chinese mobile phone manufacturers, the Government of India is reportedly planning to restrict them from selling low-end smartphones (cheaper than Rs 12,000; $150) here.
The proposed ban is presumably to kickstart India’s faltering domestic market comprising Micromax, Lava, Karbonn, among others. This was revealed by a Bloomberg report released on Monday.
The ban, according to the report, may push Chinese smartphone makers “out of the lower segment of the world’s second-biggest mobile market”. The restriction, if imposed, will give a body blow to companies like Xiaomi and Realme that have captured about 50 per cent of India’s market share in the sub-$150 (Rs 12,000 and below) segment, according to technology market researcher Counterpoint Research.
“Overall, sub-$150 smartphones contributed to 31 per cent of the total smartphone volumes in India in the June quarter this year, compared to 49 per cent in the same period in 2018,” Research Director Tarun Pathak told a news agency.
“Chinese brands dominate 75-80 per cent of these volumes as Jio PhoneNext has ramped up (procurement from them) in the last few quarters. This segment is currently dominated by Realme and Xiaomi with 50 per cent share,” Pathak added.
Shenzhen-based Transsion Holdings, which has brands like Tecno, Infinix and Itel in its kitty, is also a formidable player in the low-end and affordable segment in the country. The Transsion Group brands (itel, Infinix and Tecno) captured a 12 per cent share in India’s handset market in the second quarter.
While itel led the sub-Rs 6,000 smartphone segment with a massive 77 per cent share, Tecno captured the second spot in the sub-Rs 8,000 smartphone segment in the country, according to Counterpoint Research.
India has already taken a super tough stand against Chinese manufacturers, and recent raids on Chinese smartphone companies like OPPO, Vivo and Xiaomi prove this.
Meanwhile, the Indian government is looking into cases of alleged tax evasion by three Chinese mobile companies – OPPO, Vivo India and Xiaomi. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had informed the Rajya Sabha last week that these firms have been served notices by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence for duty evasion.
(With inputs from agencies)