Updated: April 19, 2020 5:54:01 pm
Throwing a spanner in the works of smartphone and other gadget makers who were planning to relaunch sales after April 20, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Sunday said the supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies will remain prohibited during the national lockdown, which will be lifted on May 3. Realme and Xiaomi were both planning to launch new smartphones in India next week.
Not just smartphone makers, e-commerce players like Flipkart were also preparing to open up its platform to take new smartphone orders. In fact, Flipkart had already announced that it would start delivering smartphone orders from April 20, 2020.
As per guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) last week, e-commerce companies were not allowed to deliver smartphones and other electronic goods to customers in areas that do not fall under COVID-19 hotspots from April 20. However, on April 15, the government issued new guidelines as per which e-commerce companies like Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal were allowed to operate with permissions for vehicles.
Flipkart has not reacted to the MHA’s new guidelines yet. In a statement, Xiaomi India MD, Manu Jain, said: “We are studying this, and will update you soon. We will of-course follow all governments guidelines.”
A Realme spokesperson sent the following statement when we asked about MHA’s new guidelines that bars supply of non-essential items by e-commerce companies during the lockdown period. “We are evaluating the situation and decision about the launch of the much-awaited Narzo series and online sales of our other smartphones will be made by tomorrow.”
“The govt’ s decision to continue with the restrictions on e-commerce from 20th April is a very impractical and inexplicable move,” said Arvind Singhal, chairman of retail consultant Technopak Advisors.
“The new guideline will disappoint not only the consumers whose list of essentials had expanded to work from home and study from home products but also the thousands of small businesses, sellers and manufacturers across the country, who had geared up in the last 48 hours to provide millions of people with safe access to products,” an Amazon India spokesperson said in a statement.
Mike Chen, General Manager, TCL India, said, “We are fully aware of the revision of the norms related to e-commerce, and we understand the necessity behind this. Having said so, we also need to understand that e-commerce provides a great deal of revenue support to the non-essentials. Although, at TCL we’re fully prepared with strategies to amplify our TV and AC business via e-commerce platforms but we would wait for more updates from the Government, hoping for the best.”
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