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Trading in your Apple iPhone? Don't expect too much in return

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 April, 2015, 7:08am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 April, 2015, 7:08am

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Apple's trade in programme for iPhones and iPads launched yesterday in China has faced a mixed reaction, with many customers complaining of low prices being offered for their old devices.

A brand new iPhone 5S can be traded for around 1,500 yuan (US$242), the iPhone 5C fetches 800 yuan, the iPhone 4S about 500 yuan and the five year old iPhone 4 just 250 yuan, according to the Zhengzhou-based Dahe News.

Staff at Apple stores and authorised retailers make a price evaluation based on whether there is damage to the screen and if buttons, camera and other functions are working properly.

A 16gb iPhone 5S costs 4,488 yuan while an 8gb iPhone 5C sells for 3,288 yuan on Apple's official online store.

The marked price gap sparked heated discussion on the Chinese web, with some complaining that it was unfair that the price of an iPhone is so high in China while trade-in prices are set much lower.

“I cried that my iPhone 4 is so cheap. I’d rather use it as an MP3 player,” one Weibo user wrote.

Apple has faced increasing competition in recent years from high-quality, low-price Chinese competitors, particularly Xiaomi, the country's largest domestic smartphone brand. Many Chinese consumers have complained that Apple products are too expensive and are replaced too often.

The iPhone and iPad trade-in programme is a partnership with Apple supplier Foxconn, which recycles and resells the hardware in what both companies have hailed as a positive environmental policy.

“Everyone wants to sell their phone for more price. In reality, it’s a complicated process and can be a waste of time. Most iPhone users know what they are paying when they buy a new product. The environment is not a key reason when they buy a new phone,“ said Danny Wang, an iPhone 5S user.

Apple’s trade-in programme also triggered competition on the underground market. Dealers outside an Apple store in Beijing's Sanlitun area offered 400 yuan for an iPhone 4s and 700 yuan for an iPhone 5C.

But experts warned of risks when selling a device to an unlicensed dealer, particularly if users leave compromising personal data on the phone when they sell it.