Apple's influence on China is so powerful that it could soon skew the market there for used cell phones — with a ripple effect for the rest of the cellular industry.
There are now so many iPhones being sold in China, Verizon chief financial officer Fran Shammo told investors Tuesday, that it may wind up affecting the prices that resellers are able to get for their second-hand phones.
"There is a lot of Apple product hitting in the Chinese market now, where China was one of the larger areas where we sold off used handsets," Shammo said. "So, as these markets get heavily penetrated with newer product, that could impact the residual value of these phones going forward."
Sales of used phones stand to become a more important figure in the coming years as carriers respond to recent shifts in the device marketplace. You may have noticed that some carriers, such as T-Mobile and Sprint, have been offering new iPhones for as little as a few dollars a month — if you trade in your old device. And device installment plans from these and other carriers allow consumers to perform a trade-in as often as once a year.
These new payment plans work for carriers in part because they expect to make some money back by selling the device you give up on the secondhand market, particularly in places such as China. But with Apple expanding aggressively there, that may put a dent in those hopes.