As the world’s largest smartphone market, China is set to retire around 400 million smartphones per year. The precious metals found in smartphones make this an untapped gold mine for O2O gadget recycling businesses. Investors certainly seem to think so, with the online gadget recycling platform Aihuishou (爱回收, literally “love recycling” in English) receiving an RMB 400 million series D in December last year. While Youdemai (有得卖, literally “have for sale” in English) completed a RMB 120 million series B March this year.

Smartphone recycling is a lucrative business. Apple recovered over 61 billion tons of material for reuse in 2015, including 28 billion tons of steel, 6,612 tons of silver and 2,204 tons of gold, according to its Reuse & Recycling report. However, the challenge lies in getting consumers to actually recycle their old phones. A consumer report shows that less than 10% of consumers in China recycle their old phones. They either leave the phones sitting at home or throw them away.

This is where online gadget recycling platforms come in. They make it easy for customers to get rid of their old phones. Both Youdemai and Aihuishou have built powerful databases of common gadget models and strong partnerships with second-hand vendors and e-waste recycling companies. Customers only need to fill in a form, hit enter to see an estimated price, then select one of three ways for the old gadget to be collected (dropped off, picked up or posted).

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

What you get

Full access to all premium content and our full archives

Members'-only newsletters

Preferential access and discounts to all TechNode events

Direct access to the TechNode newsroom

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

Linda Lew

Linda Lew is a Beijing-based journalist who covers technology, start-ups and business in China. You can reach her at lindalew at aliyun dot com.