India is not proposing to restrict Chinese smartphone manufacturers from operating in the sub-$150 price range, a key minister said Monday, providing relief to scores of international giants in the world’s second largest handset market.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the junior IT minister, said at a press conference that while India feels an obligation to ensure that local firms flourish in the smartphone ecosystem, “there’s no such proposal in our ministry,” he said of the rumored plan.
Chandrasekhar’s remark contradicts a Bloomberg News report from earlier this month that said India was planning to use official or unofficial channels to restrict Chinese smartphone makers in the affordable price segment.
Xiaomi executives said at the company’s earnings call this month that they hadn’t received any communication from the Indian government or any of its agencies.
Chinese smartphone makers dominate the market in India, according to market research firm Counterpoint. Local smartphone makers Micromax, Lava and Karbonn ran high-margin businesses for several years, selling handsets they secured from Chinese phonemakers in a whitelabel arrangement. But things fell apart when several of those Chinese firms officially entered India and began selling the phones at much lower prices.
Many Chinese firms are finding it difficult to enter India or continue to their existing businesses as New Delhi tightens rules following a border clash with China in 2020. India has since banned over 300 Chinese apps including TikTok, UC Browser and Tencent-backed PUBG.
This is a developing story. More to follow…