Apple launches iPad and iPhone trade-in scheme across Greater China
Apple customers in China will be able to trade-in their old iPhones and iPads in order to upgrade to the latest models, a spokeswoman told the South China Morning Post, following on the success of a similar programme in the US.
From today, Chinese customers will be able to trade in their old devices for credit to offset the cost of an upgrade at any of the company's 18 retail stores across the country.
"Apple Retail Stores in China are launching a new programme to assist customers who wish to bring in their previous-generation iPhone or iPad for recycling," the spokeswoman Kitty Potter told the Post.
"In addition to helping the environment, customers will be able to receive a credit for their returned iPhone or iPad that they can use toward the purchase of a new [device]."
The scheme will cover all devices purchased in the Greater China region, which includes the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
An earlier Bloomberg report said that Apple's largest supplier Foxconn would buy the traded-in devices from Apple, repairing when necessary and re-selling them through its e-commerce sites eFeihu and FLNet, as well as Alibaba's Taobao online marketplace.
China is one of the most important markets for Apple, with strong demand for the large-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus fuelling the company's record US$18 billion profit in the final quarter of 2014. The Apple Watch, the company's first brand new device since the launch of the original iPad in 2010, is widely seen as being targeted at the Chinese market.
According to chief executive Tim Cook, China is poised to overtake the US as Apple's biggest market as it plans to roll out dozens of new retail stores across the country.
The expansion of the trade-in plan follows on the success of a similar programme launched in the US in 2013. Around half of people buying iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2014 traded in older phones, analyst Roger Entner told Bloomberg.
US wireless carriers also often offer buyback schemes to their customers in order to incentivise them to upgrade to the latest devices.