Coronavirus Won’t Impact Smartphone Industry in India: Xiaomi

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Xiaomi has claimed that the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on its smartphone business in India would be minimal. According to the Chief Operating Officer of Xiaomi India, Muralikrishnan B, the credit for ensuring smooth functioning of the company’s smartphone business goes to the supply chain team and partners of the company, who he said did an “exceptional job” in managing the balance of supplies.

He, however, admitted that the crisis is hurting the company’s TV business because importing the panels from abroad is taking much longer than usual. “There are certain other categories such as TVs which have been impacted due to coronavirus outbreak, as the panels are imported from abroad. As panels are taking more time to arrive in India this will impact us here”, he said in an interview to IANS last week.

Meanwhile, even though the coronavirus outbreak may not affect Xiaomi’s smartphone business for now, the proposed GST hike has the company worried no end. In a tweet following the announcement of the rate hike, Xiaomi’s India head, Manu Kumar Jain, said that the hike “will crumble the industry”. He also requested the PM and the FM to reconsider the decision, saying that even if the government does decide to go ahead with it, “At least all devices under Rs. 15,000 must be exempted”.

In case you don’t know it already, the GST Council, headed by Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, last week increased taxes on smartphones from 12 percent to 18 percent in a move that has been widely criticized by consumer groups, analysts and tech companies alike. Navkendar Singh, a research director with IDC India, called the move ‘detrimental to the vision of Digital India’, and said: “This is a textbook case of missing the wood for the trees. This will stunt any hope of growth in the near-term, which anyway looks challenging now due to coronavirus issue at both supply and demand ends”.

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