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Coronavirus scare: China imports stop, mobile market in Noida feels heat


Date: 22-02-2020
Subject: Coronavirus scare: China imports stop, mobile market in Noida feels heat
NOIDA: The disruption of the supply chain due to the coronavirus outbreak in China has impacted the mobile phone market. In Noida, which forms a big market for Chinese phone-makers, traders have been battling a 10-15% slump in sales over the past one week. 

Market observers fear that at this rate, sales in the city could dip to around 50% as shops will run out of phone accessories. A phone seller in Noida usually stocks goods worth Rs 50 lakh that he hopes to sell over two months. 

Most traders said their stocks would deplete by next month, and if they are not replenished at the earliest, some may even have to pull down shutters for some time. 

The fear of massive financial losses has led shop owners to jack up rates. The price of accessories such as phone covers, earphones, battery chargers and other hardware has seen a rise between Rs 300 and Rs 1,500 in the past one week. While a screen guard for any mid-range smartphone would cost Rs 250 earlier, it is now dearer by Rs 100 or more. Similarly, mobile covers or folders have gone up from Rs 600 to Rs 900, and screen displays now cost Rs 1,300 against Rs 1,000 earlier. 

“Currently, the mobile phone market is seeing a 10-15% slump in the absence of any imports of accessories and spares from China. We are currently relying on stocks that we had bought two months ago. These will get over by March. If the situation persists, the phone market could see a 50% slump,” said Kuldeep Gupta, president of the Noida Mobile Traders’ Association. 

Noida and its suburbs have been a profitable market for Chinese phone-makers. Over the past few years, companies such as Oppo and Vivo have set up units in the city. The local phone market, too, is driven largely by imports from China. “There is no clue when imports would resume. But as retailers see dark days ahead, they have started increasing the prices of phone parts in the range of a few hundreds to thousands,” said Gupta. His shop in Sector 18 wore a deserted look on Friday. 

Other markets that have been affected are in Bhangel in Sector 102, Brahmaputra in Sector 29, Savitri in Sector 18 and a few others. 

As of now, there is no certainty on when traders can replenish stocks. “We have no clarity on the import scene. Given the situation, a retailer in Noida, who usually sold about 500 pieces of accessories in two months, would soon face problems as supply is 50% of the demand. Naturally, the cost of accessories will rise,” said Gupta. 

SK Jain, president of the market association in Sector 18, said traders were feeling the pinch across others segments too, such as electronics, eyewear and even jewellery. “At this crucial juncture, when the virus scare has put a stop to imports and exports, it threatens to cause substantial disruption in the supply chain of our country. The government should step in and encourage measures under the ‘Make in India’ programme by offering benefits to indigenous industries,” Jain said. 

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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