mobile + telecom, mobile devices, india, oppo, smartphone, vivo, xiaomi

The Indian government is reportedly seeking ways, publicly or privately, to limit China-based vendors in the sub-INR12,000 (US$150) smartphone market in a bid to revive Indian smartphone brands.

Bloomberg quoted sources saying that the Indian government is trying to restrict Chinese players from selling phones priced less than INR12,000. The Economic Times, citing sources, reported that India is working on a strategy to nudge Chinese smartphone companies to steer clear of the under-INR12,000 market segment, thereby helping local smartphone vendors develop, driving mobile phone exports, and increasing fiscal revenue.

According to The Economic Times, sub-INR12,000 smartphones see annual shipments of 50 million units, accounting for one-third of India’s total smartphone shipments. Besides, Chinese brands account for nearly 70% of India’s overall smartphone market and 75-80% in the sub-INR12,000 market.

The reports did not mention measures India will take to restrict Chinese players from entering the lower-end smartphone market, which may include formal policies or informal channels.

Although India did not explicitly limit Huawei and ZTE in India’s telecom gear market, the two China-based vendors have been effectively banned from India’s 5G market. Furthermore, since 2022, Chinese smartphone vendors, such as Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo, have been accused of money laundering or custom duty evasion.

The Economic Times quoted an unnamed official alleging that Chinese companies used unfair means and worked as a cartel to throw the Indian firms out of competition, adding that they control the entire distribution channels and use huge amounts of money to offer discounts. Business Standard also quoted an unnamed junior tech minister claiming that Chinese players’ market dominance has not been based on free and fair competition, with most Chinese handset makers posting annual losses in India.

India is an important source of growth for Chinese smartphone vendors. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, Xiaomi’s shipment may decline by 11-14%, equivalent to 20-25 million units, resulting in a 4-5% drop in sales once India imposes restrictions.

On the other hand, India also hopes that Chinese companies expand their investments in India. Oppo recently announced a US$60 million investment plan in India called “Vihaan,” which aims to develop India’s mobile phone supply chain and build India as a mobile phone export hub.

The Economic Times quoted an unnamed executive at a Chinese company saying that the rumored restrictions sound far-fetched and it will continue watching the developments, adding that India cannot ask Chinese companies to help develop a local supply chain on the one hand and take away market opportunities on the other.

China-based smartphone brands’ ASP in India (US$)

Quarter

OnePlus

Vivo

Oppo

Lenovo

Xiaomi

Realme

Transsion

Gionee

1Q20

524.11

321.71

171.72

147.23

170.15

137.31

85.88

78.38

2Q20

483.70

276.31

146.43

157.42

166.22

119.40

81.52

NA

3Q20

407.23

275.20

148.63

135.84

138.38

130.58

86.59

66.51

4Q20

412.40

279.64

147.33

172.72

130.13

126.33

88.51

65.01

1Q21

476.15

174.77

160.21

114.68

130.76

139.40

88.72

72.16

2Q21

448.47

261.99

165.04

140.36

145.45

140.84

90.02

70.73

3Q21

372.83

235.88

192.97

181.46

144.53

133.49

94.95

70.96

4Q21

361.18

227.82

189.47

166.10

147.34

127.35

92.55

69.19

1Q22

401.84

295.14

189.22

186.20

156.90

142.31

100.17

70.44

Source: IDC, compiled by DIGITIMES Asia, August 2022

China-based smartphone shipments in India (k units)

Quarter

OnePlus

Vivo

Oppo

Lenovo

Xiaomi

Realme

Transsion

Gionee

1Q20

242.06

6,824.98

3,445.11

69.67

10,146.63

4,258.85

1,492.85

7.81

2Q20

185.98

3,180.44

1,755.08

107.03

5,351.19

1,782.49

502.67

NA

3Q20

961.21

9,046.08

6,124.49

342.07

13,539.28

7,950.03

2,500.16

54.49

4Q20

1,122.55

7,646.28

5,143.95

524.44

12,011.46

5,224.37

3,103.10

165.95

1Q21

546.38

6,624.09

4,662.12

274.64

10,447.63

4,105.29

2,870.82

160.94

2Q21

800.36

5,000.07

3,921.62

450.70

9,844.94

4,900.32

2,041.46

92.10

3Q21

1,779.54

7,859.23

5,122.45

328.14

11,212.21

7,531.03

3,949.69

39.10

4Q21

831.26

5,587.60

4,134.85

452.59

8,908.52

7,621.99

2,578.44

36.30

1Q22

1,000.70

5,494.91

3,502.42

530.74

8,541.94

6,004.58

2,518.84

4.32

Source: IDC, compiled by DIGITIMES Asia, August 2022

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