Is there a prohibition in India on Chinese phones under Rs 12,000?

According to a new report, the Indian government does not intend to prohibit the sale of cellphones built by Chinese companies that cost less than Rs 12,000 in India. Bloomberg reported earlier this month that the government was going to prevent Chinese businesses from selling low-end smartphones under Rs 12,000 in order to increase sales of homegrown brands such as Micromax, Karbonn, and Lava. At the same time, reports claim that the move coincides with firms like Realme and Transsion Holdings, who have assets in low-cost smartphone manufacturers like Tecno, Itel, and Infinix, undercutting local manufacturers. However, a new investigation refutes that claim.

On being asked about reports of govt ban on Chinese phones under Rs 12,000, MoS R Chandrasekhar said, “There’s no such proposal. It’s the obligation & duty to build Indian brands. If due to unfair trade practices, there’s the exclusion of Indian brands, we’ll intervene & resolve.”

Interestingly, the development comes just days after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman informed the Rajya Sabha in a written response that the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had issued notices to several China-based smartphone makers, including Oppo India, Vivo India, and Xiaomi India, for duty evasion. Based on an investigation conducted by the DRI, a show-cause notice demanding Rs 4,403.88 crore was served on OPPO Mobiles India Ltd, while five charges of Customs duty evasion were recorded against Xiaomi Technology India, the Finance Minister said in a written response.

In her response, the Finance Minister also stated that the agency had issued a show-cause notice to Vivo India, requesting Rs 2,217 crore in customs duty. DRI discovered Vivo Mobile India Private Ltd evading customs duty to the tune of Rs 2,217 crore. According to the response, an investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) indicated that Vivo Mobiles India Pvt Ltd sent Rs 0.62 lakh crore, primarily to China and its controlled territories, out of their total sales of Rs 1.25 lakh crore between July 2017 and March 2021.

Meanwhile, Vivo India has denied the ED’s charges, claiming that the funds, which the ED believes were used for acts of financial terrorism, were utilized to purchase raw materials and other services required by its mobile manufacturing business in India.

 

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