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India Puts the Brakes on Tech Imports: Laptops, Tablets, Computers Affected – Why?

From price hikes to potential advantages for local companies, India's new restrictions on tech imports could reshape the tech industry. Get all the insights on how this might affect you.

India Puts the Brakes on Tech Imports: Laptops, Tablets, Computers Affected – Why?

Thursday August 03, 2023 , 2 min Read

The Indian government dropped a tech market bombshell last Thursday, announcing immediate restrictions on the import of laptops, tablets, PCs, and servers. The decision, issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, requires any entity desiring to import these items into India to secure a special license.

Major tech companies like Apple, Lenovo, HP, Asus, Acer, and Samsung, accustomed to importing their products, largely manufactured or assembled in China, are directly affected by this sudden move. They must now halt imports unless they can acquire the necessary license.

The government's initiative is thought to be aimed at encouraging local manufacturing and assembly, a move similar to India's strategy for the smartphone sector. However, in the short term, it is expected to raise the prices of laptops, computers, and other tech gadgets. This is due to an anticipated scarcity, as demand surpasses the available supply.

Retailers, facing a market with higher demand, might suspend discounts on these devices. Yet, Indian companies such as Reliance, which recently launched its own laptop, the JioBook, might gain from this situation. They may find it easier to secure an import exemption license, helping to solidify their position in the domestic tech market.

The long-term effects of the policy could be a shift by companies like Apple and Lenovo towards setting up local manufacturing or assembly units. This is because the new restrictions don't apply to the import of laptop and computer parts, suggesting a potential move towards domestic production.

The new rules also include certain exemptions. Travellers can bring one device in their baggage without needing an import license. Also, the license provides an exemption for up to 20 items per consignment for purposes such as R&D and product development.

In summary, while the new import restrictions may lead to a short-term price hike in laptops and similar devices, they could potentially stimulate a rise in domestic production and assembly, boosting local manufacturers and the overall economy. The outcome will largely depend on how global and local companies navigate this significant change.