Chinese smartphone makers such as Xiaomi and Realme are advising the Indian government to classify smartphones as essential commodities, allowing delivery to users through e-commerce platforms during India’s 21-day national blockade.
The Indian government announced a very strict epidemic prevention and control policy – a national blockade of 21 days. It will also affect all walks of life, including e-commerce. Industry associations representing information technology manufacturers (MAIT) and Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) representing smartphone manufacturers have written to the Indian government seeking an exemption for e-commerce distribution of smartphones and other electronic devices and cancelling restrictions on shipping parts for domestic and export purposes.
Also Read: Xiaomi’s Wuhan Headquarters Officially Resumed Work
Manu Kumar Jain, Managing Director of Xiaomi’s Indian Subcontinent, said: ‘Today, smartphones may be the most important item after anyone’s food and groceries’. If everyone is using a smartphone, we can increase social distance and reduce the number of people going out. India sells more than 10 million devices per month, and nearly 30-40% of them are purchased by first-time smartphone users.’
Madme Sheth, Realme CEO, said that smartphones are essential for ordinary people’s lives and a gateway to other Internet services. They may be invaluable during periods of the national blockade.
In a March 27 letter to the government, MAIT suggested that e-commerce companies be listed as an essential service and that it can be delivered within a controlled logistics framework. ICEA wrote to the government that despite clarifications from the Ministry of the Interior, state and territory authorities are still cautious about not allowing access to electronics. Both agencies said that electronics manufacturers are sitting on large inventories for export and that not allowing transportation would undermine their ability to complete such transportation.