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India limits iPad and Mac imports in drive to boost local manufacturing

Mumbai, India

Apple's iPad and Mac are among the devices that the Indian government says will now require a licence to import, at least delaying sales of them and potentially limiting their numbers.

India has long had an 20% import tax on smartphones which is one reason Apple began manufacturing iPhones in the country. Even as Apple greatly expands production of very many devices in India, though, the local government has introduced new restrictions on the importing of key technology devices.

According to Reuters, a new licensing requirement has been introduced that is effective immediately. It's a licensing requirement for tablets, laptops and desktop computers, and is therefore expected to hit Apple, Samsung, and Dell the hardest.

These companies are the biggest sellers in India, and up to now resellers have been able to import laptops with no constraints. It's not clear what the specific licensing requirements now are, but industry sources told Reuters that it was a blow.

Specifically, they said that the licensing regime would inevitably mean extended wait times for any new model device that is launched. They also said that the introduction of the requirement comes just ahead of a local festival season in which sales are typically high.

The government gave no reason for the licensing requirement nor specified why it was being introduced now. However, it follows many years of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" program which aims to boost local manufacturing.