Chinese iPhone and iPad trade-in program encounters weak public reception

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Apple's just-launched Chinese iPhone and iPad trade-in program is already meeting with a tepid response in the country, particularly in light of the prices of new devices and higher trade-in values at third-party recycling companies.

On Wednesday, ZDNet cited the example of a Shanghai woman interviewed by Sina, who said she was "stunned" to learn that she could only get 250 yuan, or $40, for an iPhone 4. The company is also offering a maximum of 500 yuan ($80) for an iPhone 4S, or 1,500 yuan ($240) for an iPhone 5s.

Those values are minuscule next to what some third parties are offering for the same hardware. Sina noted that even a 16 GB iPhone 4S will often fetch 1,100 yuan ($176), while a 16 GB iPhone 5s is worth about 2,900 yuan ($463). Some of the people interviewed by the agency said they would prefer to sell to these alternative shops, especially since they pay in cash, whereas Apple is only offering store credit.

China is one of the most expensive places in the world to buy an iPhone, even when considering that devices are sold contract-free there. A 16 GB iPhone 5s for example is 4,488 yuan, or $718. In the US, the same model is $549 unlocked. An iPhone 6 Plus is well out of the general public's price range, costing at least 6,088 yuan ($973).

Although the claim hasn't been confirmed, Bloomberg has previously said that Foxconn is participating in the Apple trade-in program by repairing and reselling devices. The program is presumably generating profits for both companies, although Apple Store workers reportedly said that the company's main incentive is protecting the environment.


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