To push local manufacturing, India restricted imports of laptops, tablets, and personal computers with immediate effect, according to a government notice on Thursday.

“Their import would be allowed against a valid license for restricted imports,” the notice said.

Imports of electronics, which include laptops, tablets, and personal computers, were $19.7 billion in April–June, up 6.25% from the same period last year. Between 7% and 10% of the nation’s overall imports of merchandise are electronics.

“The move’s spirit is to push manufacturing to India. It’s not a nudge, it’s a push,” according to Ali Akhtar Jafri, a former general manager at the trade organization for the electronics industry, the Manufacturers’ Association of Information Technology.

India has been trying to push for local manufacturing by giving incentives tied to production in more than two dozen sectors, including electronics.

Extended Deadline Fuels India’s Drive to Lead Global Electronics Manufacturing

The deadline for companies to apply for its $2 billion manufacturing incentive scheme has been extended to attract big investments in the production of IT hardware, which includes items like laptops, tablets, personal computers, and servers.

The incentive scheme is key to India’s ambitions to dominate the global electronics supply chain, with the country targeting $300 billion in annual production by 2026.

Some of the major firms selling laptops in the Indian market are Dell (DELL.N), Acer, Samsung, LG Electronics (066570.KS), Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Lenovo (0992.HK), and HP Inc (HPQ.N), with a sizeable part coming from countries like China.

On hearing the news, shares of Indian electronic maker Dixon Technologies rose by more than 5%.

According to economist Madhavi Arora at Emkay Global, the intent seems to be the “import substitution of certain goods that are heavily imported.”

According to government data, nearly half of the country’s yearly imports of laptops, tablets, and personal computers—which total about 1.5% come from China.

In the past, India has imposed hefty tariffs on goods like mobile phones to boost indigenous output.

According to estimates from industry group India Cellular and Electronics Association, the country produced mobile phones worth $38 billion last year, while it produced barely $4 billion for laptops and tablets.


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