India’s plan to require licenses for imported laptops, tablets, and personal computers is likely to be delayed by a year, providing relief for companies like Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Dell, and HP. The licensing regime was initially announced on August 3 with the aim of ensuring reliable hardware and systems enter India, reducing dependence on imports, boosting local manufacturing, and addressing the trade imbalance with China.
However, after facing objections from the industry and criticism from Washington, the plan was quickly postponed by about three months. Now, instead of implementing a complex licensing process, the Electronics Ministry has proposed a simpler import registration process that will begin in November. This proposal was conveyed to industry officials at a meeting held on Friday.
Previously in August, India had announced immediate licensing requirements for imports of laptops, tablets, and personal computers. This move could have compelled companies like Apple, Dell, and Samsung to increase their local manufacturing efforts. Currently, these products can be freely imported without any special license.
Industry executives raised concerns about long waiting times for launching new models if a licensing regime were implemented. Additionally, this decision came just before the festive season in India when sales typically surge. With electronics imports amounting to $19.7 billion in the April-June period alone (a 6.25% YoY increase), it is evident that this sector plays a significant role in India’s economy.
Counterpoint research firm estimates that two-thirds of India’s laptop and personal computer market worth $8 billion annually is imported. The government’s intention behind this move is to push manufacturing within India’s borders rather than merely nudging companies towards it.
To further attract investment in IT hardware manufacturing and support its ambitions of becoming an electronics supply chain powerhouse worth $300 billion by 2026 annually^1^_,_+_,_*, India has extended the deadline for companies to apply for a $2 billion incentive scheme.
The government’s decision also stems from safety concerns associated with products imported from China. As the relationship between India and China deteriorated due to border clashes in 2020, India has taken several measures to curb investment and trade from its neighbor. By restricting imports, India aims to source such hardware only from trusted partners.
The peak, India’s plan to require licenses for imported laptops, tablets, and personal computers is likely to be delayed by a year. Instead of a complex licensing regime, a simpler import registration process will be implemented in November. This decision provides respite for companies like Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Dell, and HP. The move aligns with India’s ambition to boost local manufacturing and address its trade imbalance with China while addressing safety concerns associated with certain products^1^.