Government’s Import Hurdles Hit Apple iPhone, Xiaomi Devices From China: Report

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The government’s tight control of quality clearances for electronic goods from China slowed the import of Apple’s new iPhone model last month and held up other products made by companies like Xiaomi, according to two industry sources. Applications to the quality control agency, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), typically used to be processed within 15 days, but some are now taking up to two months or longer. BIS started delaying approvals in August for China-made imports of devices like smartphones, smartwatches, and laptops, part of the fallout from deteriorating ties with China after a border clash in June that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.

Since the clash, the country has tightened rules for investments from China and banned hundreds of Chinese mobile apps, including from tech giants Tencent, Alibaba, and ByteDance. It banned 43 more apps on Tuesday.

When Apple’s new iPhone 12 was caught in the delays, Apple India executives called on BIS to speed its approval up, giving assurances that the company would continue to expand its assembly operations in India, the two sources said. It was not clear how long the iPhone 12 application was delayed, and Apple did not respond to a request for comment

The company has assembly operations in India, but newer models and the iPhone 12 are imported from China, where contract manufacturers make the bulk of Apple’s devices. As of Wednesday, 1,080 applications to BIS for laptops, tablets, and other devices were pending, with 669 of those waiting more than 20 days, according to the agency’s website

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These included applications for devices from China-based factories of Wistron and Compal Electronics, and from Hangzhou Hikvision, the data showed. Some of the applications for approval have been pending since September