Indian authorities have prevented Chinese smartphone company Vivo from exporting 27,000 handsets manufactured by its India unit to Middle East countries for over a week, Bloomberg reported on December 6.
The shipment is worth nearly $15 million, Bloomberg quoting an insider. This is a setback to the Chinese company’s plan to ship devices from India to neighboring markets.
Those phones are being held up at the New Delhi airport by India’s revenue intelligence unit, a branch of the Finance Ministry, over an alleged mis-declaration of the device models and their value, multiple people familiar with the matter said.
An industry lobby group called the government agency’s actions “unilateral and preposterous.”
“We request your kind and urgent intervention to stop this unfortunate course of action,” Pankaj Mohindroo, the chairman of India Cellular and Electronics Association, wrote in a December 2 letter to the top bureaucrat in India’s tech ministry, which was reviewed by Bloomberg News.
“Such unwarranted actions by enforcement agencies will diffuse the drive and motivation to encourage electronics manufacturing and exports from India.”
So far, India’s Finance Ministry and Vivo India didn’t respond to emails seeking comment, according to Bloomberg.
In wake of the political chasm between India and China since the summer of 2020, New Delhi intensified scrutiny of Chinese companies operating in India including SAIC Motor Corp Ltd’s MG Motor India Pvt Ltd, and the local units of Xiaomi Corp. and ZTE Corp.
The blockage of Vivo’s shipments at the airport is likely to unnerve other Chinese smartphone players in India, where a nationalistic government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is pushing them to ramp up exports and build local supply chains. That could threaten India’s ambitious target of exporting electronics products worth $120 billion by the end of March 2026, said the Bloomberg report.