Take the 2-minute tour ×
Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm currently travelling in South Korea, home of major smartphone companies such as Samsung. It's a country in a technology boom where everybody wants to have the latest gadgets.

That implies they no longer want their gadget from last year or two years ago. So I'm hoping I can buy a used smartphone at a bargain price. But so far I can't find any for sale!

  • There's a huge electronics market called Yongsan Electronics Market, but it's not very like its counterpart in Tokyo, Akihabara - I wasn't able to find any shops selling used items.
  • Though pawnbrokers do exist, they are very hard to find, work very differently to in western countries, and don't operate like shops/stores. I went to one with a Korean friend but he had trouble understanding what I was expecting to find and the proprieter at the window said they had no phones anyway.

New phone shops are everywhere, phone accessory shops and roadside stalls are everywhere. Everybody I know, both local and expat has a very modern smartphone but doesn't seem to be able to answer my question about what happens to peoples' previous phones when they upgrade.

I believe most phones here are unlocked and people buy their own phone rather than get it with a contract as some kind of rent/lease package. That makes me believe people buy and own their phones ... but I haven't been able to find out for sure.

Is there a way to find and purchase a used smartphone in Seoul, South Korea?

share|improve this question
1  
seoul.craigslist.co.kr/mob I'm not sure, if that's what you are looking for, because it's not a shop –  Dirty-flow Nov 2 '12 at 11:43
    
@Dirty-flow: I thought it would be too difficult to buy from classifieds becasue I hardly know any Korean and I don't expect as good deals from the expats here. Also my being without a phone might make it difficult to contact the sellers. –  hippietrail Nov 2 '12 at 12:06
    
you can contact the sellers per e-mail and all of the offers are on english, so the contact shouldn't be a problem –  Dirty-flow Nov 2 '12 at 13:11
    
It does give me some idea about price. I still wouldn't be surprised if prices might be lower from non English-speaking sellers. –  hippietrail Nov 2 '12 at 13:13
add comment

1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There are a huge amount of new phone shops almost everywhere, but I hardly remember where used phone stores are. Probably the reason will be simple--there's no money in the used phone business.

Buying a new phone in Korea also means signing a contract (usually for 2 years) with a mobile service provider. It makes money for manufacturers, mobile service providers, and distributors (sellers). Buyers must use it and pay it for two years, or otherwise pay back a penalty for breach. For that reason, people could buy a phone at a lower price than its release price with some support from mobile service provider.

Thinking about buying a new phone without a contract. It is almost impossible in Korea. Manufacturers sell the phone only through mobile service providers with a contract. Even if there are some products to sell, you should pay its release price.

Then, if we brought a new one, where were the used phones going? If I want to buy used one (or want to sell my out-dated one), I'll definitely go to on-line market. Actually, there are some well-known market and communities:

  • Gmarket / Auction : Both in the eBay family, usually phones are sold by phone brokers. Very little information or photos of used phones. Hard to figure out its conditions. Only supports Korean.

  • Joong-go-na-ra : The biggest on-line flea market forum in Korea. Sold by individuals. Based on Naver service (Korean portal). Be aware there's many scammers! Only supports Korean.

  • Ppom-ppu : Well-known community for sharing information all about phones. User-based community. Sold by individuals. Only supports Korean.

  • Cetizen : Also a lot of used phone deals happen here. Sold by individuals. Only supports Korean.

I think these four are very lively communities for used phones. It is sad most communities only support Korean.

p.s. Speaking of pawnbrokers - we are very unfamiliar with 'pawnbrokers'. In most cases other than very urgently needed money, we never go there.

share|improve this answer
1  
Sounds like a business opportunity for an entrepreneurial weegook (-; Thanks for you excellent information. Some friends in Korea did tell me that you usually hand over your old phone when upgrading to a new phone. The fact that these old phones don't show up visibly on the market made me think there's probably a hidden side of the business that ships bulk trade-in phones to poorer countries like India perhaps, where I saw tons and tons of used phones. I guess a quantity are recycled too. –  hippietrail Nov 15 '12 at 23:01
1  
Thanks hippietrail, your modification helps me a lot. –  kangbu Feb 24 at 16:56
add comment

protected by Ankur Banerjee Aug 6 '13 at 11:49

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.