India restricts laptop, PC imports to boost local manufacturing
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Business: India restricts laptop and PC imports to boost local manufacturin a surprise move from the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has placed restrictions on the import of computers and laptops in a surprise move to promote domestic manufacturing.

A notice published by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Thursday requires importers to apply for licenses in order to bring laptops, tablets, computers and other electronic devices into the country. Previously, such items could be imported without restriction.

However, Modi has aggressively pushed his “Make in India” campaign, which promotes local manufacturing in order to create more jobs, without providing a reason for the rule change. Earlier this year, the government imposed a similar restriction on smart TV imports.

According to Reuters, India imported $19.7 billion in electronic products from April to June, up 6.25 percent from the same period last year.

A request for comment has been made to Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF), the top laptop sellers in the South Asian country, but no response has been received.

It comes at a crucial time for the world’s most populous nation, as companies look beyond China to secure critical supply chains.

Over the next decade, India’s working-age population is expected to reach one billion, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. A large and young labor force makes it an attractive destination for global companies looking for alternative manufacturing hubs to China.

According to Piyush Goyal, India’s commerce minister, Apple manufactures between 5% and 7% of its products there.

“If I’m not mistaken, they are planning to manufacture 25% of their products,” he told an audience in January.

US chipmaker Micron (MICR) announced a new factory in Gujarat, calling it the country’s first semiconductor assembly and test facility in June.

Over the next few years, Micron expects to create 5,000 micron jobs and 15,000 jobs in the community through the venture. Micron will invest up to $825 million in the project.

In addition to expanding its operations in India, Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker, is also looking to expand its operations there.