The Indian authorities have rejected Apple’s requests to sell used iPhones in India, according to Bloomberg.
The decision is significant for Apple, which is looking to drive iPhone growth in new countries, as more mature regions move to a replacement cycle.
With India a price-sensitive market, the ability to supply reconditioned iPhones would enable it to target lower price points with which to bring customers to the line, as well as providing a home for second-hand devices it gained as part of its financing and upgrade programme.
This is not the first time the Indian authorities have banjaxed Apple’s plan, and this time around the warning was that the move would “open the floodgates to electronic waste, jeopardise local players, and make a farce of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make In India programme to encourage local manufacturing”.
A number of vendors have invested in facilities in India designed to deliver devices specifically targeting the market, and these players would find themselves competing with iPhones made elsewhere, used, and then imported into India for sale at a mid-tier price point.
In Apple’s most recent results call, Tim Cook said Apple has been “working with great energy over the last 18 months or so” in India, but that so far “the market potential has not been as great there”. Among the issues noted was the limited role operators play in device supply, meaning the need to build a retail presence, and “retail is many, many different small shops”.