Photographer: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP via Getty Images

Apple’s Plan for Refurbished iPhones Is Rejected in India

  • Company is also seeking permission to open retail stores
  • Apple's seeking new sources of growth as iPhone sales plateau

India has rejected Apple Inc.’s request to import and sell refurbished iPhones to the world’s second largest mobile population, a telecommunications ministry official said Tuesday.

The U.S. company’s application has been turned down, the official said, asking to not be identified, citing official policy. Apple has been seeking permission to import and sell used phones to court price-conscious consumers with a similar proposal rejected in 2015 by the environment ministry.

Apple declined to comment.

Apple’s rivals have mounted a public campaign against the effort, arguing that such a move would trigger a flood of used electronics while defeating the government’s Make-in-India program to encourage local manufacturing.

The decision is a setback for Apple, which has just 2 percent of Indian phone shipments but needs to tap new markets as global iPhone sales plateau. The U.S. company is also seeking permission to open its first Indian retail stores, key to driving its brand in a market dominated by local vendors. That decision is pending.

India is a challenging market because of the iPhone’s premium pricing but bringing in refurbished phones would have allowed Apple to attract the cost-conscious. The company typically doesn’t lower prices, to maintain its marquee image.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE