The case of a subsidized reverse supply chain in the Chinese electronics industry Articles uri icon

publication date

  • August 2023


  • 122

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0305-0483

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-5274


  • We study a special environmental producer responsibility policy for the Chinese electronics industry that is based on awarding a per unit subsidy to qualified returned electronic products and ensuring a minimum producer collection volume while allowing larger collection volumes. Based on a real application from a Chinese electronics company that produces LCD TVs, our paper studies the optimal design of the product"s reverse supply chain when there is flexibility in settling the inspection locations of the returned products and flexibility in the volume of returned products collected. The problem is modeled as a nonlinear mixed-integer program and an efficient outer approximation-based solution approach is proposed. Analytical results and extensive numerical experiments based on this real application are conducted. Observations novel to the reverse logistics literature are related to the testing location decisions (upstream or downstream) and the optimal collection volumes of returned products. Particularly, we show how the government can stimulate the collection amount of returned products by increasing the unit subsidy and we also find that the company"s marginal benefit from improving the subsidy increases in a superlinear fashion. Furthermore, the highest collection volumes may not occur at the highest quality level of returned products for capacitated remanufacturers. The company can also be incentivized to increase the collection of returned products by permitting flexible testing locations. We also observe how the optimal testing locations vary for different levels of unit subsidy and different ratios of qualified and non-qualified returned products. Finally, conclusions and future research directions are provided.


  • Business


  • environmental producer responsibility; reverse logistics; government subsidy; chinese electronics industry; nonlinear mixed-integer programming