Alibaba's logistics arm, Cainiao Network, has launched a pilot program to recover used cell phones based on users' Sesame Credit score, a credit scoring system managed by Alibaba's Ant Financial.
Cainiao Network operates some 40,000 service stations under Cainiao Yizhan, its logistics platform.
Wu Bin, with Cainiao Yizhan, said on Tuesday that the recycling service has been tried in the company's 1,000 service stations in south China's Xiamen, Guangzhou and Shenzhen cities. The company prioritizes those with good credit scores for phone recycling.
He explained that in order to join the recycling program, users submit an evaluation of their used cell phones through Sesame Credit's service function on the Alipay app in their phones, and send it to Cainiao Network.
Once the recycling order is confirmed, customers can go to Cainiao Yizhan's service stations to recycle their phones and get paid, he said.
The credit-scoring system has 400 million users. The score is based on data such as a user's online purchase history, income level, and educational background.
Wu said that the company hires professional recycling firms to deal with the recovered cell phones so that all personal information in the phones can be erased before they are recycled in safe and environmentally friendly ways. For example, screen and battery parts can be dismantled for recycling and useful metals can be extracted.
Gao Dayong, chairman of Cainiao's service station in Qianpu Community in Xiamen, said that local residents have shown interest in the new service. In two weeks, he has collected more than 20 used phones for recycling.
According to statistics from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, less than 2 percent of 100 million abandoned cell phones were recovered in China, where the number of mobile phone users has reached more than 1.3 billion.