The Lunacy of The Apple India Story

In India, 30% of goods sold by foreign companies must be manufactured within the country.

This law puts a damper on Apple’s India plans - threatening to prevent them from bringing their incredibly successful retail strategy to the country.

Turns out there’s an exemption for retailers providing cutting-edge technology. Apple apparently failed to qualify for this exemption. This decision is top-level comedy coming from a country that has failed to deliver indoor plumbing to more than half its citizens.

There’s a beautiful anecdote from the 80s or 90s (or some other time the nation was conducting its large-scale economics-voodoo social experiments). Sunil Mittal - founder of Airtel, one of India’s largest telecom companies - saw a push-button phone on a trip in Taiwan and decided to bring it to India - where the rotary dial was still state-of-the-art.

Turns our phone imports were banned. The burgeoning company had to set up operations to buy fully built phones in Taiwan, break them apart, ship them to India, and then reassemble them.

I am sure that this lunacy was fully paid for by the customers.

Sunil himself mentions this story near the 16:25 mark:

If you wondered where to look for a Yakov Smirnoff jokes in a post Soviet world, India’s got your back.

India’s vast bureaucracy is now bringing its finely honed judgement to deal with the world’s most successful companies.

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