Dell, H.P, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo will delay product launches as India has not approved the import of wifi modules from China for several months!
According to two industry sources, the Government of India is delaying the import of finished electronic devices such as wireless earphones, Bluetooth speakers, smartwatches, laptop, WiFi chipset from China.
The Communications Ministry’s Wireless Planning and Coordination, aka WPC wing, has withheld the approvals related to the imports since November 2020, as per the sources who are familiar with the lobbying efforts by the tech companies seeking clearance regarding the same.
The sources also mentioned that more than 80 such applications by various U.S, Chinese and Korean firms are currently pending with the WPC. And along with that, even applications from a handful of Indian firms which import finished electronic goods from China are awaiting the WPC’s approval.
When reached out to Dell, HP, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Lenovo for a comment, they did not respond to the requests.
Similarly, the communications ministry has also not responded to requests for comment on this particular subject either. The sources who requested to remain anonymous said that the GOI is yet to respond to the representations made by the industry’s lobby groups and individual companies.
The Prime Minister’s nationalist policies have helped boost the growth of smartphone assembly in India, and sources believe that the GOI’s intention is to persuade the lobbying companies to locate more of their production within the country borders.
But that being said, it is obviously easier said than done for tech companies because ‘Making-In-India’ would require them to invest heavily while waiting for long periods to see any substantial returns.
Dell, H.P, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo are stuck in rock and a hard place because if on the other hand, they keep waiting for the government’s approval, they are setting themselves up to see a potential loss in revenues.
India previously used to allow companies to self declare wireless equipment, a move which made imports far easier. However, since the rollout of new rules in March 2019, firms now need to mandatorily seek government approval.
But that is not the only downside of the non-clearance of long-pending import requests. WPC’s delay also severely undermines India’s strategy to cut off the Chinese influence in its tech economy, especially after the Galwan valley incident.
How will the GOI proceed to solve this problem? Only time will tell. But as of now, it is pretty much evident that product launches in wearables, earphones, and several other categories will be postponed. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.