Apple Is Reportedly Planning To Bring Its iPhone Trade-In Program To China

Apple is on a tear in China, where it is seeing record shipments and revenue, but it might be about to step things up a notch there. Bloomberg is today reporting that the U.S. firm is planning to launch a trade-in program in the country for the first time.

Bloomberg said Apple will work with Foxconn, the Taiwanese firm that manufactures its mobile devices, to accept older iPhones from customers in exchange for discounts on a newer model. Foxconn will refurbish the older models and sell them to new customers online, via its own e-commerce sites and Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace, according to the report.

The program is well established in the U.S., to the point that Apple is being linked with accepting Android devices for trade-in too. It will stick to iPhones in China, initially at least, Bloomberg said, although it isn’t clear what kind of discounts will be on offer.

There’s a robust market for second hand phones across Asia already, but it will be interesting to see how the launch of such a program would affect the company’s market share in China, which is at an all-time high, according to research firm Kantar and a bounty of other data sources.

Analyst firm Canalys placed Apple top for smartphone shipments to China in Q4 2014. IDC pegged its marketshare for the period at 12.3 percent, fractionally behind Xiaomi (12.5 percent) and just ahead of rival Samsung (12.1 percent). That ranking was very different one year before, when Samsung (18.8 percent), Lenovo (13.2 percent) and Huawei (10.2 percent) had outsold Apple (7.4 percent) and Xiaomi (6.5 percent).