Cash in your old phone

Finweek English Edition - - INSIDE - BY Shan­dukani Mu­laudzi ed­i­to­rial@

Cell­phone re­cy­cling is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly popular around the world. Most de­vices con­tain poi­sonous sub­stances, such as mer­cury and ar­senic, that are harm­ful to the en­vi­ron­ment if they end up in a land­fill.

To pre­vent this, com­pa­nies like Zwipit are en­cour­ag­ing con­sumers to sell their old cell­phones and smartphones, which they then re­fur­bish and re­sell.

Zwipit was started in Spain and has now ex­panded into 10 other coun­tries in­clud­ing Turkey, Italy and Chile.

Zwipit South Africa’s CEO Felix Martin-Aguilar says that there are about 70m cel­lu­lar de­vices in SA, which meets the de­mand and sup­ply the com­pany needed as a gate­way to ven­ture into the con­ti­nent.

Through a four-step e-com­merce process, Zwipit gives you cash for your un­wanted de­vices.

Con­sumers ac­cess the mo­bile-friendly web­site, en­ter de­tails of the cell­phone they want to sell and are then given an of­fer for the phone that they can ei­ther ac­cept or re­ject. Once an of­fer has been ac­cepted, a courier will fetch the de­vice from the con­sumer and the cash will be de­posited into their ac­count within 10 work­ing days.

Direc­tor of mar­ket­ing and South Africa op­er­a­tions Nothando Moleketi says the e-com­merce model still poses chal­lenges in an en­vi­ron­ment like SA’s where peo­ple are still very wary of the busi­ness model.

“As we grow we will part­ner with re­tail­ers so that con­sumers can sell their de­vices through them and then re­ceive vouch­ers from the store,” Moleketi said.

Although Zwipit has only been in SA since 25 Novem­ber, Martin-Aguilar is op­ti­mistic about its growth in the mar­ket. “We have had a good start to op­er­a­tions and I am con­fi­dent we will reach 5 000 units sold by the end of the first quar­ter.”

Through part­ner­ship with Mi­crosoft Mo­bile de­vices, Moleketi says the com­pany is reach­ing more peo­ple and in­creas­ing its pres­ence on so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

Due to this be­ing the f irst ven­ture into Africa, Zwipit’s pric­ing still re­lies on in­ter­na­tional de­mand and sup­ply. Cur­rently, it also only sells re­cy­cled units on the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.

Moleketi notes that the de­mand for cer­tain de­vices in Africa will dif­fer to that of Europe and is con­fi­dent that in time Zwipit will have a pres­ence that is strong enough to buy and sell within Africa.

“We just need to ed­u­cate the con­sumer on e-com­merce as they are not as com­fort­able [with it] as peo­ple are in­ter­na­tion­ally. When we go into phase two we will look into hav­ing a re­fur­bish­ment fa­cil­ity in South Africa and t hen have pric­ing on African stan­dards,” she


“We have had a good start to op­er­a­tions and I am con­fi­dent we will reach 5 000 units sold by the end of the first quar­ter.”

Nothando Moleketi and Felix Martin-Aguilar

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