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Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi explore new options after Sichuan Airlines' India ban

April 28, 2021: Smartphone brands such as Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and several handset contract manufacturers are exploring alternate options of air cargo carriers to import components after China’s Sichuan Airlines suspended all shipments to India.

The state-run airline Sichuan Airlines suspended all cargo flights on six routes to India for 15 days, citing the risk of rising Covid-19 cases in the country.
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The state-run airline Sichuan Airlines suspended all cargo flights on six routes to India for 15 days, citing the risk of rising Covid-19 cases in the country.

April 28, 2021: Smartphone brands such as Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and several handset contract manufacturers are exploring alternate options of air cargo carriers to import components after China’s Sichuan Airlines suspended all shipments to India.

“The state-run airline, on Monday, suspended all cargo flights on six routes to India for 15 days, citing the risk of rising Covid-19 cases in the country,” reports The Economic Times.

“This might lead to component prices shooting up in the near term if other airlines replicate similar restrictions. This clubbed with already short in supply chipsets will add further mounting pressure on production in India,” said Upasana Joshi, associate research manager-client devices, at research firm IDC India.

Despite a global component shortage and increased Covid infection risk in India, manufacturers are putting their best efforts to keep India manufacturing operations up and running.

Faisal Kawoosa, founder and chief analyst of research firm TechArc, said “I think the government of India should intervene and support the smartphone industry here to arrange for logistics to ensure smooth supply of components.”

“Otherwise, these players will be left to explore options from the open market, which will definitely push up costs of components, which anyways will not go well at this juncture when the demand is already shirking due to the prevailing Covid situation in the country,” he added.

Smartphone companies are being forced to increase prices by 10-15 percent, because a depreciating rupee and shortage of key phone parts continue to jack up the total bill of materials (BOM) for handset brands.

The cost of display panels has almost doubled in the global market, memory chipsets are seeing a 20 percent increase in cost, battery packs prices have risen by 10 percent and others, including camera modules and sensors, are also dearer by 5 percent.

Any kind of logistics hurdles will further add to this pressure and manufacturers may even decide to cut down production because consumer demand is anyway waning amid lockdown, say experts.

The ban may hit Vivo the hardest as the brand is already facing an embargo by seven airlines, including global and local ones after one of its consignment caught fire at Hong Kong airport this month.

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