India has implemented a licensing requirement for the import of laptops, tablets, and personal computers, stating that it will bolster domestic manufacturing and ensure the use of verified systems within its tech ecosystem. Under the new rule, companies will need a special license for these products, similar to restrictions imposed in 2020 for inbound TV shipments. The government did not provide a specific reason for the decision. Tech companies like Apple, Dell, and Samsung could be affected and may be compelled to increase local manufacturing.
Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar mentioned on the X social media platform that the government aims to ensure trusted hardware and reduce dependence on imports, aligning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative, which promotes local manufacturing and discourages imports.
The move is expected to curtail supplies from China, as there are security concerns regarding these products, according to media reports. By ensuring trusted and verified systems, India intends to enhance its tech ecosystem.
The new rule, effective immediately, applies to laptops, tablets, all-in-one personal computers, ultra-small computers, and servers. Previously, these products were freely importable, but the licensing requirement marks a shift in policy.
The restrictions aim to promote domestic manufacturing under the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for IT hardware, with the government seeking applications until August 30. The measure also aims to reduce inbound shipments from countries like China and Korea.
The import of laptops, tablets, all-in-one personal computers, and ultra-small computers and servers will now require permission or a license from the government. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) issued the notification in this regard.
Exemptions exist for imports under baggage rules and for items imported for R&D, testing, benchmarking, evaluation, repair and return, and product development purposes. Share prices of local electronics contract manufacturers, including Amber Enterprises India Ltd., Dixon Technologies India Ltd., and PG Electroplast Ltd., surged after the announcement, indicating a positive market response to the push for local manufacturing.
The move is expected to impact companies that heavily rely on imports, such as Apple. They will need to consider options like local manufacturing or seeking import licenses to continue operations in India. Tech firms are engaging with the Indian government to expedite the process of obtaining licenses, given the approaching Diwali shopping season and back-to-school period.
The move is seen as part of India’s efforts to strengthen its tech manufacturing industry and enhance security by promoting the use of verified systems.