Apple CEO Tim Cook shows the new MacBook during an Apple event in San Francisco, California March 9, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
Apple CEO Tim Cook shows the new MacBook during an Apple event in San Francisco, California March 9, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Apple has made multiple attempts to crack the smartphone market in India, and with a population of 1.25 billion, who could blame them? Their latest lobby to take control of the South Asian nation’s mobile phone market — by selling used phones — is meeting a wall of resistance.

Apple is seeking permission to become the first company allowed to import and sell used iPhones into the country, the tech giant’s second attempt in as many years. This time, however, the stakes are much higher and a ever increasing number of industry executives are standing in the way of the move, warning government officials in closed session meetings that it 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.

“Make in India could turn into Dump in India,” said Sudhir Hasija, chairman of Karbonn Mobiles, who said it sells about 1.7 million phones a month.

Apple’s 2015 application was rejected by the environment ministry. Things have since changed, dramatically. India now represents the world’s second-largest mobile phone population, and in turn, represents a vast untapped market for the company. To make serious their claims, Apple has amped up their presence in the country, and is on course to get the green light to open its first retail stores.


Sensing a threat to their domestic products, the electronics manufacturing industry’s main representative body recently set up a lobbying arm who made direct contact with the government, vehemently opposing Apple’s application.

“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. The group’s members include the largest Indian phone brands: Micromax, Intex and Samsung.

Apple currently only has its hands on 2% of the Indian smartphone market, while Samsung controls roughly a third, according to research data from the firm IDC. CEO Tim Cook says he’s trying to grow those numbers, and that’s the reason for planting his company’s stores in the country. Right now, the only way to obtain an iPhone is through a third-party vendor like a local electronics store.

Information from Bloomberg and Fortune contributed to this report.