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Big benefits for Apple, Samsung in India

Launch plans for devices from the likes of Samsung and Apple in India will get a big boost.

India will try a parallel testing strategy to accelerate safety approvals for new electronic devices, an industry group told Reuters on Friday, a move that could boost launch plans for devices from the likes of Samsung and Apple.

The move comes as India makes an effort to eliminate bottlenecks facing businesses, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi optimistic about an electronics hardware industry, his government goals of being worth $300 billion by 2026.

The plan to test several components of the devices at the same time appears to be reducing by five to eight weeks from the 16 to 21 now often required to test and certify products ranging from wireless earbuds to smartphones.

“For the industry, it is directly linked to the ease of doing business; for consumers, this will result in faster access to the latest products,” the group, MAIT, said in its statement.

Companies such as Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi are among its members, as well as international and domestic companies operating in India’s electronics, telecom and IT sectors.

To shorten the time needed, the group added that the testing agency, the Bureau of Indian Standards, “has agreed to a pilot project where some identified electronic hardware products will be tested in parallel”.

Executives say India’s cumbersome testing process could take up to 16 weeks for a new Apple AirPods model, for example, as the charging case and its components must be cleared before evaluating the earbuds.

For a smartphone and its parts, the procedure can take up to 21 weeks on average.

The pilot decision followed a closed meeting on Wednesday between officials from India’s Ministry of Information Technology, BIS, MAIT and executives from companies such as Apple and Samsung, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The BIS and the Ministry of IT also did not immediately respond to questions from Reuters.

Earbuds will be the first devices likely to be tested sooner, with the government deciding on other products at a later date, MAIT said.

Faster safety and quality declarations by authorities will boost India’s competitiveness in electronics, said Prabhu Ram, head of the Industry Intelligence Group at CyberMedia Research.

“For Indian consumers, this move will significantly reduce the wait time to get their hands on the latest products,” added Ram, who advises tech companies in India.

The requirement for safety testing by BIS applies to all electronic products in India, both imported and domestically made.

The move will hit the mark for companies like Xiaomi and Samsung, which sell the most smartphones in India and have a combined market share of 46%, as well as Apple, which follows Samsung in the premium category, data from research firm Counterpunt shows.

While Indian company boAt leads the wireless earbuds market in India, Apple is the market leader in premium variants, data shows.

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