In anticipation of my departure from Beijing this summer, I’ve been slowly getting rid of things through expat forums, clothing swaps, and donation drives. Clothes, bikes, household appliances, books, and craft supplies have all found willing recipients, but I’ve been stumped about what to do with old devices.
A Baidu search turned up Aihuishou (“love recycling”), a Shanghai-based customer-to-business platform for selling old mobile phones and other personal devices. Founded by two Fudan University graduates, the site has been profiled on chinadialogue and received C series funding from the US.
The premise seems simple enough. Users o to the website, type their device brand and model into the search bar, answer some questions about the state of the device, and make an appointment to either drop it off in person at one of Aihuishou’s service points or have an employee come over and assess it in person.
The obvious drawback is that the website is only in Chinese, but the interface looks very easy to use and Aihuishou reportedly offers higher buyback prices than competing services and street vendors. Even if you have limited language skills, it should be simple enough to get through with the help of someone who can read Chinese.
Let’s say you want to resell an iPhone 5. On the front page, click on the Apple logo or click on the dropdown menu labeled 旧机回收 (“old device recycling” jiuji huishou):
“Mobile phone” (手机回收 shouji huishou) is the second option in the dropdown list.
You can also type the device brand and model straight into the search bar:
Once you find the right device, you’ll get a series of diagnostic questions to assess the resale value of the phone:
The questions are different for each device. In this case, they include where the iPhone 5 was bought, storage capacity, serial number group, and warranty status.
The next page assesses for any damages or malfunctions: whether the phone turns on and off normally, whether the battery works normally, whether the Wi-Fi has any issues, etc.
The last page continues along the same vein and asks about the phone’s casing, screen, and repair history.
The first thing you’ll see on the next page is the estimated resale value of the phone – in this case RMB 530 – followed by a list of service options.
There are three options: go to one of Aihuishou’s service points (there will be a map of Beijing with a list of locations), have a service agent come to your house, or send the devices through kuaidi.
Once the devices have been assessed and, if applicable, the estimate price readjusted, Aihuishou will give you the money through WeChat Wallet, bank transfer, or in cash.
Note that you get an extra RMB 30 if you show up in person at a service point and an extra RMB 5 if you choose to get paid through WeChat Wallet.
Both in-person resales and house calls require an appointment. The transaction can only go through if the total resale value of the device(s) amounts to at least RMB 50, so this is the perfect time to get rid of your whole family’s e-waste in one fell swoop.
Sijia Chen is a contributing editor at beijingkids and a freelance writer specializing in parenting, education, travel, environment, and culture. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, The Independent, Midnight Poutine, Rover Arts, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @sijiawrites or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visuals: Screenshots by Sijia Chen, main photo by Zak Mensah (Flickr)