It’s a perfect storm for Chinese mobile manufacturing companies operating in India.
The Indian government is looking into cases of alleged tax evasion by three major Chinese mobile companies — Oppo, Vivo India and Xiaomi — and notices have been issued to them, respectively. The cases slapped against these companies range from allegations in what the government termed as income tax evasion and customs violations to fraud and money laundering.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday informed the Upper House of the Parliament that the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) issued notice to Oppo for a total customs duty of Rs. 4,389 crore on the grounds of misdeclaration of certain goods, leading to a short payment in duties. Duty evasion, Sitharaman said, is about Rs. 2,981 crores.
Separately, ED had reportedly conducted searches at more than 40 locations including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and some southern states in connection in connection with a money laundering case registered against Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo.
Earlier in July, the ED reportedly blocked nearly 119 bank accounts linked to Vivo’s India that were holding several hundred crores as part of a probe into alleged money-laundering which the enforcement agency termed a “heinous economic offence”. In response, the mobile company moved to Delhi High Court seeking permission to operate its bank account to which the Court allowed the company to operate the bank accounts subject to furnishing a bank guarantee of Rs. 950 crores.
The latest, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) again on Wednesday said it detected customs duty evasion of around Rs. 2,217 crore by Vivo Mobile India.
Coming to Xiaomi, three showcase notices have been issued and their approximate duty liability is about Rs 653 crore, of which it had deposited only Rs 46 lakh, Sitharaman on Tuesday said.
ED in late April reportedly seized Rs. 5,551.27 crore of Xiaomi Technology India Pvt Ltd– a wholly-owned subsidiary of the China-based Xiaomi group– under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in connection with illegal remittances made by the firm in February this year.
The seized amount of Rs. 5,551.27 crore, it had alleged, was lying in the bank accounts of Xiaomi Technology India Pvt Ltd, which started its operations in India in 2014 and started remitting the money in 2015.
After the ED’s crackdown, Chinese telecom firm Xiaomi said it was committed to working closely with the government authorities to clarify what it termed as “misunderstandings”.
“As a brand committed to India, all our operations are firmly compliant with local laws and regulations. We have studied the order from government authorities carefully,” a Xiaomi spokesperson had then said, adding that it believed the company’s royalty payments and statements to the bank were all “legit and truthful”.
Also, ED had reportedly summoned Manu Kumar Jain, a former head of Xiaomi’s India unit, in the case in mid-April this year.
It doesn’t stop there.
Minister Sitharaman on Tuesday also said the ED was looking at 18 companies that were established by Vivo, where they have voluntarily remitted Rs. 62,000 crores as deposits.
Upon repeated charges against the Chinese companies related to serious economic offences, Beijing responded by saying it was closely following developments besides stressing on the matter that the Chinese government has always asked the companies to abide by laws and regulations when doing business overseas.
China also expressed hope the Indian authorities will abide by laws as they carry out the investigation and enforcement activities and provide a truly fair business environment.
“We hope the Indian authorities will abide by laws as they carry out the investigation and enforcement activities and provide a truly fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies investing and operating in India,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson had said.
According to the Indian foreign ministry spokesperson, companies who operate here need to follow the law of the land and it believes that the authorities are taking steps as per law.
Xiaomi 12, Xiaomi 12 Pro Android 13-Based MIUI Beta Update Announced for Limited Users: Details
Xiaomi announced on Monday that is rolling out a MIUI beta update for Android 13. This beta version is available for the company’s Xiaomi 12 and Xiaomi 12 Pro handsets. However, the Chinese tech giant has announced that only 200 users will be given access to the Android 13-based MIUI beta during the first wave of updates. Xiaomi has warned users that the update process might take longer than usual. Furthermore, the smartphone could get overheated or face performance issues after the update, according to the firm.
Xiaomi announced the rollout of a beta version of MIUI based on Android 13 via Twitter. Only Xiaomi 12 and Xiaomi 12 Pro users are eligible to apply to join the first wave of updates. The company has revealed that only 200 users will be granted access to the beta during the first wave of updates.
????Exciting news! MIUI Beta for #Android13 is available now.????#Xiaomi12 and #Xiaomi12Pro users who are interested can apply to join the first wave through this link now!
*Please note that Xiaomi Community is not accessible in India. pic.twitter.com/qbvZE177US
— MIUI (@miuirom) August 15, 2022
In addition, Xiaomi mentioned in a community post that beta testers should make a backup of important data before updating their smartphones. The update process is expected to take longer than usual, and the device may face overheating and performance issues after the update, according to the company.
The handset could take some time to adapt to the MIUI beta. Some third-party applications may not be compatible with Android 13 and may not function properly, as per the Chinese smartphone manufacturer.
The Xiaomi 12 update carries the firmware version V22.214.171.124.TLCMIXM and the Xiaomi 12 Pro update bears the firmware version V126.96.36.199.TLBMIXM. Both MIUI beta updates are over 4GB in size.
On Tuesday, Vivo also announced a similar Android 13 beta update as part of its Android 13 Preview Program in India. The company asked Vivo X80 Pro users to register for getting the Funtouch OS 13 update that will roll out on August 23. Vivo subsidiary iQoo also announced that that iQoo 9 Pro owners can apply to join the company’s Android 13 preview program.
iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max Could Get $100 Price Hike, Analyst Says
Apple is expected to increase the price of the Pro models in its upcoming iPhone 14 lineup, according to details shared by an analyst. In an investor report, a Wedbush analyst has stated that the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max could see a price increase of $100 (roughly Rs. 8,000), in comparison to their predecessors. According to Ives, the price increase could be attributed to the increase in the cost of components and the added functionality of the new lineup.
Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives stated in an investor report that more consumers could opt for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max than the regular models. This could be a boon for Apple as the iPhone 14 Pro models will cost $100 (roughly Rs. 8,000) more than the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. To recall, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max were launched in India last year, with prices starting at Rs. 1,19,900 and Rs. 1,29,900, respectively, for the base 128GB storage option.
Ives adds that the iPhone 14 Pro models could feature more storage that their predecessors. A past report suggested that the Pro models could feature 6GB of LPDDR5 RAM, whereas the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max are expected to get 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM.
Furthermore, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are believed to be powered by Apple’s new A16 Bionic chip. On the other hand, the regular models are expected to feature the A15 Bionic chip that currently powers the iPhone 13 models.
The price increase of the iPhone 14 Pro models was first tipped by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a recent report. Kuo stated that the increase in the average selling price (ASP) of these smartphones could be due to the “price hikes and higher shipment proportion.”
iPhone 14 Series Launch Date Said to be Targeted for September 7 Ahead of Busy Fall Product Season
Apple is aiming to hold a launch event on September 7 to unveil the iPhone 14 line, according to people with knowledge of the matter, rolling out the latest version of a product that generates more than half its sales. The new iPhones will kick off a busy fall product season, which will also include multiple new Macs, low-end and high-end iPads, and three Apple Watch models.
Apple is updating its flagship product at a precarious time for the industry. Smartphone sales have begun to flag as consumers cope with inflation and a shaky economy. But Apple appears to be faring better than its peers: The iPhone sold well last quarter, and the company has signaled to suppliers that it doesn’t foresee a dropoff in demand.
The Cupertino, California-based tech giant typically announces other products alongside the iPhone, including the latest Apple Watches. The company usually releases the new iPhone in stores about a week and a half after it’s unveiled, and Apple is expected to stick to that pattern this year. Some retail store employees have been told to prepare for a major new product release on Sept. 16.
Apple gained almost 1 percent to $174.54 (roughly Rs. 13,900) in New York trading. The stock remains down 2 percent this year, though it’s climbed back from a much deeper rout in recent months.
The company intends to stream the event online — rather than holding an in-person gathering — continuing an approach it adopted at the start of the pandemic. Apple launches are highly polished affairs, and employees have already begun recording the presentation’s segments over the past few weeks, Bloomberg News has reported.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the event’s timing. Given that the announcement is still about three weeks away, the company’s plans could change, but Apple usually unveils the latest iPhones in the first half of September.
The company held its last event in June to announce its next set of software updates — iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9 and macOS Ventura — and invited press and developers to its campus to watch a video of the presentation. That arrangement was part of Apple’s slow shift back to more normal operations, a push that has included a return to the office.
On Monday, the company told its corporate staff they would be required to work in-person three days a week beginning September 5, two days before the planned product announcement.
The standard iPhone 14 will look similar to the iPhone 13, though the company will eliminate the 5.4-inch “mini” version and add a model with a 6.7-inch screen. This will mark the first time Apple launches a non-Pro iPhone with a display of that size.
The company is planning bigger changes for the iPhone 14 Pro line. Apple will replace the front-facing camera cutout, known as the notch, with a pill-shaped hole for Face ID sensors and a hole-punch-sized area for the camera. This will give users slightly more screen space. The company is also adding a faster chip to the iPhone 14 Pro. Apple, meanwhile, will retain the A15 chip from the iPhone 13 in the regular iPhone 14 models.
The most significant iPhone 14 Pro changes will be to the camera system, which will appear slightly larger to consumers. The Pro models will gain a 48-megapixel wide-angle camera alongside 12-megapixel ultrawide and telephoto sensors. Apple is also planning improvements to video recording and battery life.
For the latest Apple Watches, known as Series 8, Apple will add features for women’s health and a body-temperature sensor. The standard watch will look similar to the Series 7, but a new pro model will go after sportier consumers. It will have a larger display, rugged titanium case, new fitness tracking features and more battery life. The company also is planning a new Apple Watch SE, its low-cost smartwatch, with a faster chip.
Also coming in September: iOS 16, the software that will run on the next iPhones, and watchOS 9, the next Apple Watch operating system. And the company plans to launch macOS Ventura in October alongside iPadOS, the iPad’s operating system. The latter software was delayed about a month, in part due to bugs surrounding its new Stage Manager multitasking system.
Apple is working on an updated low-end iPad with an A14 chip and USB-C port, as well as new iPad Pro models with M2 chips for later this year, Bloomberg News has reported. It’s also looking to launch new Macs before the end of the year as it works on versions of the Mac mini and MacBook Pro with M2-based processors.
© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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