On September 12, one day before the much anticipated new iPhones were scheduled to launch, the secondhand trading unit of Chinese Craigslist 58.com Zhuan Zhuan (meaning to pass on in Chinese) sealed a deal with Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer behind Apple and other tech giants, to work on vetting used phones exchanged over the platform.

The news comes at a critical time as consumers are projected to sell off old handsets during the big launch season. Xiaomi rolled out Mi Mix 2 a day before the new iPhone reveal, and Samsung, Vivo, and Huawei are in line to release their new models in the following weeks. In August, transaction volumes on Zhuan Zhuan reached 2.48 billion RMB ($380 million) with cellphones taking up the majority at 31% (in Chinese). When the iPhone 7 was released last year, trading volume for iPhones on Huishoubao (meaning treasure of recycling in Chinese), a recycling service startup started by former Tencent employees, surged by 300%. Increases for Samsung and Xiaomi reached 500% over the same period as Android users looked to convert to iOS.

Chinese consumers crave new phones. A survey by iiMedia shows that nearly half of the participants buy a new phone within 1-2 years. In total, Chinese consumers replace 400 million to 500 million phones a year, according to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology. Around the world, there have been 7.1 billion smartphones manufactured since 2007—the year when the first iPhone came out—according to Greenpeace. This is enough to equip nearly every person in the world with a device.

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Rita Liao

Telling the uncommon China stories through tech. I can be reached at ritacyliao [at] gmail [dot] com.