Have you ever wondered what happens to a discarded iPhone? Does it crackle in the sun? Does it wallow in the electronic filth until its battery leaks and runs? Maybe it just sits there like a dusty brick. Or maybe, just maybe, it breathes life anew in the land of China.

As we have posted before, the Apple iPhone is very popular in China. There is a healthy second-hand market for iPhones. According to China's ITHome.com, a technology blog and news site, photos posted online showcase some of the seedier elements of the secondhand iPhone trade.

According to itHome, many of the iPhones sold in China online as new are refurbished models but they aren't officially refurbished, but rather, are made to look new through the black magic that is China's gray market. Some of the machines come from all over the world but most come from the United States, Japan, or Hong Kong. Because the machines are purchased on the low end, many of the machines are either heavily scuffed or have broken parts such as shattered screens.

The broken nature of these phones doesn't bother the Chinese gray market techs. The machines are stripped down and paired with after market parts. After the machines are put together and ready for sale, the gray market merchants repackage said phones; the packaging is so good that the refurbished phones even come with new serial number stickers.


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Eric is a Beijing based writer and all around FAT man. You can contact him @FatAsianTechie@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @FatAsianTechie