In today’s world, there are about 80,000 to 100,000 used iPhones, and used Samsung phones are being recycled every single day. Where will these used iPhones and Samsung phones go? They will go through the process of disassembly to refurbishment and also spare parts production, but how does this mature reprocessing chain work?

Used phones usually come from large recycling companies in the United States and the European Union. These companies work with various operators and mobile phone companies. Every single day, through buyback or trade-in projects, these companies collect tens of thousands of used iPhones and used Samsung phones. No one knows where these used phones have gone.

Where did the recycled used phones go?

A large number of used iPhones and used Samsung phones flow towards the market in Hong Kong China after being recycled. This unofficial market has developed a mature system in conducting used phones auction and classifying the product standards.

Hong Kong has the greatest number of used phones auction houses. These so-called auction houses, their main business is to auction off the various recycled electronic gadgets like bulk used iPhones and used Samsung phones. The cell phone is certainly the most popular and favored product category in the auction houses. Almost every day, the auction of used phones will be held by at least one or two auction houses among those thirty auction houses in Hong Kong. The buyers are mostly cell phones wholesalers from Huaqiangbei Shenzen. And at the same time, there are also bidders from all around the world who might be used iPhone wholesale suppliers or used Samsung phones wholesale distributors.

During the auction, used phones will normally be graded into Grade A, B, C, and D. The quality of the used phones, their accessories, packaging, and other factors will play a role in the process of subdividing the phones into those grades accordingly.

Apart from quality issues, cell phones collected from different countries and channels will have their disparities in grading. For example, cell phones collected from the United States will have a slightly lower grade compared to those cell phones collected from Japan and usually, they will be marked as Grade B. Differences in the grades will lead to a price difference around HKD100 to HKD 200 in the starting price and transaction price of the auction. However, the pricing fluctuates daily. This clearly explains the reason why the salesperson needs to check the latest prices when you’re buying iPhones in bulk from an iPhone wholesale online or offline store. The price of iPhone wholesale or wholesale Samsung phones fluctuates daily.

Cell phone wholesalers from Shenzen will usually go to Hong Kong auction houses whenever auctions are held. They need to inspect the quality of the products on the site, select the required used phone models, and fill in the bid form. These bids are confidential to each other, and finally, the auctioneer compares the prices and delivers them to the bidder with the highest price.

The difference between used phones and refurbished cell phones

Almost all of the buyers at the used phones auction come from Huaqiangbei. As the largest e-commerce wholesale distribution centre in the world, there are quite a lot of people in Huaqiangbei involves in used phones business like for example, iPhone wholesale.

The bulk used iPhones bought from Hong Kong will undergo a transformation in Huaqiangbei. They will go through the process of sorting, repairing, cleaning, assembling, and flashing machines, and then be sorted out according to colour, model, and memory. Those with better quality and functions are either sold at a premium or refurbished, and discarded ones are resold to specialized cell phone accessories wholesalers for dismantling. Huaqiangbei has a mature reprocessing chain of mobile phones that works from disassembly to refurbishment and also spare parts production. Mobile phones that have no direct use-value will be disassembled and parts will be sold again.

In addition, the recycling chains of iPhones scattered around the world also have transformed a lot of shorter industrial chains of iPhone refurbishment and resale.

The reason behind the pricing difference between used phones wholesale and refurbished cell phones wholesale

The global market focuses more on device appearance when it comes to refurbishment of used iPhones and Samsung phones. The repaired parts used for these refurbished cell phones, some of them come from defective products of an Apple component manufacturer. Some of them might come from high imitated products from ordinary factories and some of them also come from discarded mobile phone parts that are recycled and disassembled. People could hardly tell the difference between the genuine parts and the fake ones. Especially when it comes to the internal components of a cell phone, even the professional engineer needs to disassemble and inspect to find out.

Aside from the device appearance, not only a used phone can be refurbished, but an iPhone XR mobile phone can be completely changed to iPhone11, iPhone12, iPhone13, iPhone13Pro. Similarly, a 64GB mobile phone can also be changed to 256GB or 512GB.

This technology is easy to implement. First, you need to remove the binding between the ID number and the mobile phone, refresh it to the new system, then remove the memory chip and processor matching code from the motherboard. Lastly, you just need to solder a new memory chip, and the memory can be replaced after the computer upgrades the firmware.

The question now is why there is a huge difference in the price of used phone wholesale and refurbished cell phones wholesale on the market? The reason being so is, people are seeking various types of cell phones quality in the market, and thus different quality suits different markets.


In this article, we only wrote about some of the circulation links in the huge market of used phones. For more details, please feel free to contact us. UEEHPONE provides first-class solutions for used phone wholesalers and retailers.