By ANI | Updated: 4 August 2022
It’s a perfect storm for Chinese mobile manufacturing companies operating in India.
The Indian government is looking into cases of alleged tax evasion by three major Chinese mobile companies — Oppo, Vivo India and Xiaomi — and notices have been issued to them, respectively. The cases slapped against these companies range from allegations in what the government termed as income tax evasion and customs violations to fraud and money laundering.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday informed the Upper House of the Parliament that the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) issued notice to Oppo for a total customs duty of Rs. 4,389 crore on the grounds of misdeclaration of certain goods, leading to a short payment in duties. Duty evasion, Sitharaman said, is about Rs. 2,981 crores.
Separately, ED had reportedly conducted searches at more than 40 locations including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and some southern states in connection in connection with a money laundering case registered against Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo.
Earlier in July, the ED reportedly blocked nearly 119 bank accounts linked to Vivo’s India that were holding several hundred crores as part of a probe into alleged money-laundering which the enforcement agency termed a “heinous economic offence”. In response, the mobile company moved to Delhi High Court seeking permission to operate its bank account to which the Court allowed the company to operate the bank accounts subject to furnishing a bank guarantee of Rs. 950 crores.
The latest, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) again on Wednesday said it detected customs duty evasion of around Rs. 2,217 crore by Vivo Mobile India.
Coming to Xiaomi, three showcase notices have been issued and their approximate duty liability is about Rs 653 crore, of which it had deposited only Rs 46 lakh, Sitharaman on Tuesday said.
ED in late April reportedly seized Rs. 5,551.27 crore of Xiaomi Technology India Pvt Ltd– a wholly-owned subsidiary of the China-based Xiaomi group– under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in connection with illegal remittances made by the firm in February this year.
The seized amount of Rs. 5,551.27 crore, it had alleged, was lying in the bank accounts of Xiaomi Technology India Pvt Ltd, which started its operations in India in 2014 and started remitting the money in 2015.
After the ED’s crackdown, Chinese telecom firm Xiaomi said it was committed to working closely with the government authorities to clarify what it termed as “misunderstandings”.
“As a brand committed to India, all our operations are firmly compliant with local laws and regulations. We have studied the order from government authorities carefully,” a Xiaomi spokesperson had then said, adding that it believed the company’s royalty payments and statements to the bank were all “legit and truthful”.
Also, ED had reportedly summoned Manu Kumar Jain, a former head of Xiaomi’s India unit, in the case in mid-April this year.
It doesn’t stop there.
Minister Sitharaman on Tuesday also said the ED was looking at 18 companies that were established by Vivo, where they have voluntarily remitted Rs. 62,000 crores as deposits.
Upon repeated charges against the Chinese companies related to serious economic offences, Beijing responded by saying it was closely following developments besides stressing on the matter that the Chinese government has always asked the companies to abide by laws and regulations when doing business overseas.
China also expressed hope the Indian authorities will abide by laws as they carry out the investigation and enforcement activities and provide a truly fair business environment.
“We hope the Indian authorities will abide by laws as they carry out the investigation and enforcement activities and provide a truly fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies investing and operating in India,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson had said.
According to the Indian foreign ministry spokesperson, companies who operate here need to follow the law of the land and it believes that the authorities are taking steps as per law.
NavIC Rollout: No Timeline Fixed For Implementing Indigenous GPS Alternative, MeitY Says
By ANI | Updated: 27 September 2022
The central government has said that it has held a meeting with mobile manufacturers to discuss the compatibility of the home-grown global positioning system — NavIC — in smartphones, but no timeline was fixed for its implementation.
This clarification by the government came on Monday after media reports suggested India was looking to mandate its indigenous navigation system “within months”.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said the meeting was “consultative”.
“A media report has claimed citing a meeting that mobile cos were asked to make smartphones compatible with NavIC within months. This is to clarify: (1) No timeline has been fixed. (2) The cited meeting was consultative; and (3) the issue is under discussion with all stakeholders,” the Ministry of Electronics and IT said in a tweet late on Monday night.
A media report has claimed citing a meeting that mobile cos were asked to make smartphones compatible with NavIC within months. This is to clarify: (1) No timeline has been fixed. (2) The cited meeting was consultative; and (3) the issue is under discussion with all stakeholders.— Ministry of Electronics & IT (@GoI_MeitY) September 26, 2022
What is NavIC? How is it different from its previous version IRNSS?
NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) is the name of the independent stand-alone navigation satellite system of India.
This system was earlier known as IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System).
The name NavIC was coined by the Prime Minister of India on the occasion of the completion of the constellation in April 2016.
Which are the navigation satellite systems operational currently in the world?
Presently, there are four global systems, GPS from the US, GLONASS from Russia, Galileo from European Union and BeiDou from China.
In addition, there are two regional systems, NavIC from India and QZSS from Japan.
What is the need for NavIC when already GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou are operating?
GPS and GLONASS are operated by defence agencies of the respective nations. It is possible that the civilian service can be degraded or denied.
NavIC is an independent regional system over the Indian region and does not depend on other systems for providing position service within the service region.
It is fully under the control of the Government of India.
Apple to hike App Store prices in several countries from Oct
By: Reuters, Updated September 20, 2022
Apple Inc said on Monday prices of apps and in-app purchases on its App Store will increase in several countries including Japan, Malaysia and all territories that use the euro currency, from next month.
The new prices, excluding auto-renewable subscriptions, will be effective as early as Oct. 5, Apple said in a blog post.
These changes will also reflect new regulations for Apple in Vietnam to collect and remit applicable taxes, being value added tax (VAT) and corporate income tax (CIT) at 5% rates respectively, the company added.
Apple plans to use latest chip tech by Taiwan’s TSMC in iPhones, Macs – Nikkei
By: Reuters, September 14, 2022
Sept 14 (Reuters) – Apple Inc is planning to use an updated version of Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC’s (2330.TW) latest chip producing technology in iPhones and Macbooks next year, the Nikkei Asia newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The A17 mobile processor, which is currently under development, will be mass-produced using TSMC’s N3E chipmaking tech, expected to be available in the second half of next year, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
The A17 will be used in the premium entry in the iPhone lineup slated for release in 2023, it added.
Apple declined to comment, while TSMC did not immediately respond to Reuters request for a comment.
The current iPhone model has an A15 processor chip and in the recent Apple launch event, the company said iPhone 14 Pro models will also have the same.
The chipmaker controls about 54% of the global market for contractually produced chips, supplying firms including Apple and Qualcomm Inc.
New Apple iPhone will be available in Russia, trade minister says
By: Reuters, September 8, 2022
Sept 8 (Reuters) – Russians will have the chance to buy the new Apple iPhone 14 despite the U.S. tech company having left the country thanks to Moscow’s parallel import scheme, a senior government official told the RIA Novosti news agency on Thursday.
Russia announced the scheme in March when it authorised retailers to import products from abroad without the trademark owner’s permission. read more
Asked whether the new iPhone, unveiled by Apple on Wednesday, would be imported under the scheme, Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov said: “Why not? If consumers want to buy these phones, yes. There will be the opportunity.”
Apple halted new product sales in Russia in March, a week after Russia invaded Ukraine, though the iPhone, MacBook and other Apple goods have remained available in Russian stores as retailers sell down their remaining stock of old models and get hold of newly released devices through the import scheme.
Russian mobile network MTS on Thursday morning was already selling the new iPhone 14 models on pre-order. Prices start from 84,990 roubles ($1,398) for the 128GB version.
MTS said delivery could take up to 120 days and it retained the right to cancel orders if it faced difficulties importing the products.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
Manturov, who is also a deputy prime minister, said last month that the scheme, which covers Western products ranging from luxury clothes to cars, could reach $16 billion in value this year, equivalent to around 4% of Russia’s 2021 imports.
Apple to appeal Brazil sales ban of iPhone without charger
By: Reuters, September 7, 2022
SAO PAULO, Sept 6 (Reuters) – Apple Inc said on Tuesday it will appeal a Brazilian order banning it from selling iPhones without a battery charger, pushing back on claims that the company provides an incomplete product to consumers.
The Justice Ministry fined Apple 12.275 million reais ($2.38 million) and ordered the company to cancel sales of the iPhone 12 and newer models, in addition to suspending the sale of any iPhone model that does not come with a charger.
In the order, published on Tuesday in the country’s official gazette, the ministry argued that the iPhone was lacking a essential component in a “deliberate discriminatory practice against consumers.”
The authorities rejected Apple’s argument that the practice had the purpose of reducing carbon emissions, saying there is no evidence that selling the smartphone without a charger offers environmental protections.
Apple said it would continue to work with Brazilian consumer protection agency Senacon in order to “resolve their concerns,” while saying it would appeal the decision.
“We have already won several court rulings in Brazil on this matter and we are confident that our customers are aware of the various options for charging and connecting their devices,” Apple said.
The order comes a day before Apple is expected to announce its new iPhone model.
India considers restricting sale of sub-$150 phones by Chinese firms, Bloomberg reports
By reuters | Updated: 29 August 2022
NEW DELHI, Aug 8 (Reuters) – India is seeking to restrict Chinese companies from its sub-$150 phone market in a bid to revive the prospects of domestic players, Bloomberg News reported on Monday, citing unidentified sources.
The move would be a blow to Chinese companies such as Xiaomi , according to the report. The plans coincide with rising concerns in India about Chinese brands undercutting local smartphone makers, it added.
It is unclear if the Indian government will announce policies or use informal channels to execute the block on Chinese smartphone makers, Bloomberg said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Chinese firms account for a major chunk of entry-level smartphones that are popular among users shifting away from traditional devices in India, which is the second largest mobile market in the world.
Indian firms such as Lava and MicroMax rapidly gained popularity after their launch over a decade ago, but have since lost market share to stiff competition from Chinese players.
Many Chinese companies have struggled to do business in India due to political tensions following a border clash in 2020. India cited security concerns in banning more than 300 Chinese apps, and has also tightened rules for Chinese companies investing in India.
Xiaomi and rival Vivo are being investigated by India’s financial crime fighting agency for alleged illegal remittances and money laundering. Both deny any wrongdoing.
The companies and the Indian government did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the report.
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