Parallel imports of smartphones will be strangled with fines

Importers who supply smartphones to Russia under the terms of parallel imports may face fines for non-compliance with the requirements for installing Russian software on a gadget. They can reach 200 thousand rubles. At the same time, the list of applications required for pre-installation is constantly growing and the sellers themselves, who did it before, now refuse to supply equipment to Russia.

Business useful to Russia can be ruined with fines

The parallel import of smartphones in Russia is threatened by an avalanche of fines, writes Kommersant. In Russia, there is a law on the mandatory pre-installation of domestic applications on devices imported into the country, but this only applies to “white” imports.

Manufacturers, not retailers, should install applications. And if the smartphone is not intended for the Russian market, then it will not have the software specified in the text of the law. This carries the risk of fines for those who decide to make parallel imports. According to current legislation, they can reach 200 thousand rubles.

The threat of cash transfers from their pockets also hangs over those who want to import computers, laptops and smart TVs into Russia. The law on pre-installing home software also applies to these devices.

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Requirement to pre-install domestic software could boost gadget shortage in Russia

Parallel import is the import of goods into the country without the permission of the right holder, ie the manufacturer. In other words, these are “gray” imports that have existed in Russia for decades. In March 2022, the authorities legalized it amid numerous anti-Russian sanctions that cut off the supply of foreign equipment to the country.

No software required for parallel import

Currently, many large equipment suppliers have left Russia. These are, for example, Apple, Dell, Samsung, as well as Asus, which announced plans to suspend operations in Russia. According to Kommersant, citing sources, many foreign sellers were working in the Russian market according to the direct import model. In other words, they themselves imported their products into the country and were therefore responsible for non-compliance with domestic law, including the mandatory pre-installation clause of Russian software.

Parallel importation includes the importation into the country of equipment originally produced for other countries, for example, China. Manufacturers do not install Russian software on such devices. This results in the risk of imposing fines for the lack of such software on gadgets imported into the country.

There will be fines. Mintzifra confirmed

The fact that businessmen engaged in parallel imports will inevitably face fines for the absence of Russian software in foreign equipment, said in the publication representatives of the Ministry of Digital Development. They confirmed that the importers face administrative liability in the form of a fine. In Russia, it ranges from 30 thousand rubles. up to 200 thousand rubles

There are not so many options for importers. One of them is the self-installation of the necessary software set, which means opening boxes with new devices. Whether the buyer will agree to buy a device that has already been activated by someone is unknown.

The interlocutors of the article see another solution to the problem. Retailers who have received the same smartphones imported through parallel imports can start offering customers the installation of Russian software directly in the store, just before purchase. “It simply came to our notice then. “14.8 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation, but may preclude the initiation of liability,” said the sources of the publication.

However, fines for the lack of home software in the memory of gadgets are unlikely to become a daily occurrence. Representative of the Association of Commercial Companies and Manufacturers of Electrical Home and Computer Equipment (includes Apple, Huawei, LG, HP, etc.) Anton Guskov believes that it will be very difficult to control all devices imported into the country as part of parallel imports. According to him, for this, the supervisors should open each box and start the devices.

The software gets bigger

The law on the pre-installation of Russian software was approved in December 2019 and was to enter into force in July 2020. However, due to Covid restrictions, the start of its work was regularly postponed. The authorities initially wanted it to operate in April 2021, but eventually everything was postponed to July 2021.

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According to CNews, selling devices without Russian software is punishable by fines. They range from 30 thousand rubles. up to 50 thousand rubles for employees and from 50 thousand rubles. up to 200 thousand rubles – for legal

Throughout 2020, there was no final list of pre-installation programs in Russia. Its first final version was ready in January 2021 and contained 28 items – 16 for smartphones, 11 for TVs and one for computers and laptops.

It later turned out that these programs are not enough. In August 2021, the OK Video smart TV application was added to the list, allowing you to watch videos from the social network Odnoklassniki (owned by VK) and, according to developers, provides access to more than 10,000 channels.

One month later, the Ministry of Digital Development proposed to increase the number of Russian applications required for pre-installation to 33. Four programs were added to the list – an online store, an audio player, a video conferencing service and e-book reading software.

At the same time, 53% of Russians, according to a study by BCGroup and MyOffice, from April 2022 continued to use foreign applications, even despite the pre-installation of Russian software. Only 35% started using more active domestic software.

According to Anton Guskov, a representative of the Union of Companies and Manufacturers of Electrical Home and Computer Equipment, in view of the current situation in Russia, due to sanctions in the country, a moratorium should be introduced to expand the list of domestic programs required for. The marketing manager of MyOffice disagrees with him. Petr Shcheglov“At a time when foreign software developers are threatening to block and remove their applications from the Russian territory, Russian applications will help keep the devices running,” he told Kommersant.


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