In an attempt to increase its market share in India, Apple wants to sell used iPhones. But there is a problem: A number of industry executives are opposing the move, claiming that by allowing Apple to sell used handsets, India will open the “floodgates to electronic waste, jeopardize local players, and make a farce of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India program to encourage local manufacturing”, reports Bloomberg.
By selling refurbished iPhones, Apple could attract price-sensitive consumers to its ecosystem. The iPhone SE, Apple’s lower-cost iPhone, is targeted at such markets, but refurbished iPhones could sell at a much lower price and compete against manufacturers that target the low-end of the market.
As Bloomberg points out, four-fifths of phones cost less than $150, and branded smartphones are available for as little as $35 in India.
Manufacturers such as Micromax, Intex, and Samsung (and others) have recently formed the Mobile and Communications Council, which lobbied against Apple in a letter sent to the government.
“Why even consider allowing import of used phones when import of other used goods such as cars are precluded by 300 percent duty levies?” asked Ravinder Zutshi, chairman of the newly formed Mobile and Communications Council, which issued the letter.
One of the major complaints is that allowing Apple to sell refurbished iPhones in India could nix Modi’s initiative to ignite local manufacturing, as it would increase imports of electronic products. Another complaint targets the environmental impact of those handsets:
“The millions of imported used phones will need their batteries replaced. What will happen to those batteries, where will they go?” asked Sunil Vachani, chairman of Dixon Technologies, whose phone assemblies roll out a million phones a month for brands like Japan’s Panasonic and China’s Gionee. “I am against any change in policy with regard to import of used phones.”
Apple has recently disclosed the steps taken for recycling products. The company says it typically manages to collect and recycle 85% (by weight) of devices produced seven years earlier.