India Restricts Computer Imports

The Delhi government has significantly restricted imports of laptops, tablets, and other types of personal computers, in order to increase local production.

On Thursday, August 3rd, the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry, with no warning, published an amendment that restricts the import of almost all types of personal computers and other electronic gadgets into the country. The decree that took effect “immediately” effectively prohibited the import into India of laptops, tablets, PCs, servers, all-in-ones, and any other types of smaller form factor computers, such as, for example, very popular Chinese mini-PCs.
According to the Indian Government, “all of these computers fall under the international classification code HSN 8741.” In other words, electronic devices that are completely assembled outside of India can no longer be imported into the country for resale. However, this ban does not apply to imports into India of components or parts for manufacturing or repairing the HSN 8741 electronic products.
The Delhi government is committed to helping speed up the ambitious program that was launched back in 2014 and called “Make in India.”  Using the “carrot and stick” principle, the Indian government wants to convince the largest international electronics manufacturers to start their own production in the country, which will bring investment and technology to India, as well as create many new jobs.
Some major electronics manufacturers, such as Dell, Hewlett Packard, and Lenovo already have their own manufacturing facilities in India.
In 2023, the Indian government launched a massive $6.6 billion financial program to subsidize the production of smartphones in the country. Samsung and some of Apple’s partners – Foxconn, Wistron, and Pegatron – have applied to participate in this initiative. To date, a total of 22 companies have joined the program and will receive funding for additional sales of locally produced goods.
India’s Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad estimates that companies will produce $153 billion worth of smartphones and components within five years. “India aims to become a global center for the production of the highest quality smartphones,” emphasized the Indian minister. In addition, in May 2023, the government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented a “strengthened” $2 billion draft program to support local manufacturing of laptops, PCs, and servers. Previously, India planned to spend “only” $892 million for these purposes.
According to data publicized last December during a hearing in the Indian Parliament, the country’s cumulative imports of electronic goods to India in 2021-2022 rose by 32% to $43 billion, up from $32 billion in 2019-2020. Nonetheless, thanks to the implementation of the “Make in India” program, the share of imported equipment over the same period decreased from 69% to 64%. According to Counterpoint research firm, about 30-35% of laptops and 30% of tablets sold in India in the first half of 2023 were produced locally.