Apple resumes trade-in program in China

Industry experts believe the relaunch of Apple's trade-in program in China indicates the US giant is losing steam in the world's most populated market.
Written by Cyrus Lee, Contributor on

Apple has resumed its trade-in scheme in China nearly one year after the company first introduced the program to the Chinese market, which had previously been suspended after receiving a lukewarm response.

According to Apple's Chinese official website, consumers trading a used iPhone for a new model are able to reclaim as much as 2,500 yuan in Apple's official retail or online stores.

But a local Chinese report claimed Apple only offers 2,200 yuan ($334) for an 16G iPhone 6 Plus, 950 yuan ($144) for an iPhone 5s, and 300 yuan ($46) for an iPhone 4S. Credit earned from the trade-in program is restricted to the purchase of another iPhone in store, according to the report.

The relaunch of the program offers no further incentives to the consumers over the previous plan, which was quietly ceased as consumers found trade-in prices offered by Apple were lower than other mainstream retailers. The 16G iPhone 6 Plus model is widely reclaimed for 3,550 yuan ($540) among small IT outlets in Beijing -- $206 more than Apple offered in its latest trade-in program.

Quoting Chinese industry insiders, the local Chinese report said Apple chose to resume the trade-in scheme to boost sales ahead of the traditional Chinese New Year, as the Cupertino-based technology giant faces various issues in China including market saturation and an economic downturn.

Apple's sales in the Greater China region -- including the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan -- rose 14 percent for the quarter ended December 26, 2015 from the same period a year previous, although growth was thinner over previous periods.

Editorial standards