Samsung's Android flagships are set to become more expensive in India after New Delhi once again raised import taxes on a variety of consumer electronics, smartphones included. The move came as the latest step in the South Asian country's effort to boost local manufacture with its "Make In India" initiative and although the Seoul-based original equipment manufacturer has been supportive of the endeavor, the majority of its local sales are attributed to entry-level and mid-range offerings instead of flagships. Due to that state of affairs, Samsung is still importing premium devices like the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 instead of manufacturing them in India, with this particular product category now being subjected to yet another tax hike.
New Delhi increased the customs duty on handsets from 10 to 15 percent, with Apple being believed to be the OEM that's the most affected by the decision as only its iPhone SE is presently being assembled in India. While Samsung's flagships aren't as popular as its other products, Indian consumers should still expect to have the increased importing costs passed on to them, some industry watchers believe. Samsung is presently in the middle of a major market share battle with Xiaomi that's threatening to overtake it as the largest phone vendor in the country, making the timing of the increased customs duties rather inopportune, but the company's insistence on maintaining healthy profit margins is still believed to lead to a rise in prices of its premium flagships sold in India.
The move is a major victory for local handset makers and is still unlikely to result in any major OEM quitting the world's second largest smartphone market that still isn't showing any signs of saturation and is generally considered to be a massive growth engine for anyone who manages to penetrate it. New Delhi is well-aware of that fact and has successfully leveraged the current state of affairs in order to strengthen domestic economy. Samsung's premium TV business is also set to be affected by a similar hike after the Finance Industry doubled the 10 percent import rate on such devices last week. The first results of India's latest move should be observable by early 2018 when the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are set to be released in the country.