ATRenew Posts Record Profit as Quality Control Automation Push Drives Efficiency

ATRenew, the operator of China’s top consumer electronics transactions and services platform, on Tuesday delivered a three-month profit record, as it leveraged an automation push to enhance business efficiency while consolidating its lead in a wider-range of recycling.

The US-listed company posted 81.6 million ($11.5 million) in adjusted operating profit for the fourth quarter, a 136 percent increase from a year earlier, a new quarterly record, according to its financial disclosure. Adjusted net income also notched an all-time high of 91 million yuan, while income booked a record high of 3.9 billion yuan, up 29.9 percent on year and above the top end of its guidance.

This points to the six straight quarter of operating profitability on a non-GAAP basis adjusting for spending on employee share incentives, the amortization of intangible assets and deferred costs from acquisitions.

For the whole of 2023, the company’s non-GAAP operating earnings topped 250 million yuan, a 35-fold jump on a yearly basis, on 13 billion yuan in revenue which outperformed its industry peers with an annual gain of 31.4 percent. Full-year adjusted net profit stood at 230 million yuan, the second year in a row achieving non-GAAP net earnings.

The stellar numbers are proof that the recycling specialist’s efforts to venture into non-electronics gathered steam and its lineup of refurnished gadgets has been well received.

(Source: ATRenew)

By the end of last year, ATRenew’s multi-category recycling business had been available in 252 out of its 1,819 brick-and-mortar outlets across 268 cities, generating gross merchandise volume of over 1 billion yuan.

Meanwhile, the company has made headway in its compliant refurbishing offerings that cater to consumers scouting for affordable yet trustable pre-owned devices.

Last year,  ATRenew logged 810 million yuan in revenue from self-operated refurbishing services, accounting for 9.4 percent of total recycling income, according to the company. The segment soared 41.5 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous quarter.

Another building block of its financial success, as Kerry Xuefeng Chen, founder and chairman of ATRenew named, was “trade-in solutions with e-commerce retailers and consumer electronics manufacturers” the company has developed.

In the second quarter of last year, ATRenew struck a deal with Apple to become a certified platform in the Chinese mainland for trading in Apple gadgets for cash, and the company reaped 300 million yuan in income from its tie-up with Apple in the fourth quarter.

SEE ALSO: ATRenew Becomes a Partner of Apple’s ‘Trade-in’ Service

It’s noteworthy that a viable contributor to the recycling champion’s profit efficiency is its adoption of automation technologies to enable economies of scale.

The wide use of automated quality control systems typified by Matrix 3.0 lowered the amount of losses resulting from faulted quality controls by 19 percent for the whole of last year. This, adding to big data algorithms and optimized shipments into and out of self-operated warehouses, led to reduced fulfilling  expenditures that include the operating costs of offline retailing and the costs of warehousing and external logistics.

Accordingly, its fulfillment costs as a percentage of operating income by non-GAAP measurement dropped by 2.4 percentage points to 8.5 percent for the full year, ATRenew’s disclosure showed.

In a sign of effective cost controls, ATRenew’s adjusted operating profit margin jumped to 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter from 1.2 percent in the same period of 2022.

With sharper financial performance despite a tortuous economic recovery, the recycling giant apparently stands ready to capitalize on China’s push for a circular economy in which waste would be minimized and a sustainable use of natural resources would prevail via recycling and other means.

(Source: ATRenew)

The State Council, China’s cabinet, released a guideline document in February that specifies goals and measures to ramp up building a waste-recycling system. By 2025, such a system covering all fields and all links will be basically established.

In another major move, the cabinet published an action plan earlier in March on equipment renewals and consumer goods trade-ins, a huge market of 5 trillion yuan per year in high-profile pitch to boost domestic demand.