Two burnt smartphones, angry online commentators, and a Samsung explanation.
Samsung continues taking a drubbing in China over the perceived bias the company has shown against Chinese consumers in the recall of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.
Over the weekend, pictures of two burnt smartphones were making the rounds on Chinese social media. On Monday, Samsung clarified that the battery was not at fault. “The test results show that the damage to the device was caused by external heating,” Samsung China said, according to the Wall Street Journal. In more direct language, the user caused it.
The battery supplier for China and Samsung ssnlf conducted tests to exonerate the batteries from the fires.
But many Chinese online didn’t see it that way.
“Whether this was a staged incident or not, all it does is make people think that Samsung doesn’t dare to raise a fuss overseas, but in China as soon as explosions are mentioned they blame other people,” the WSJ quoted a Weibo commentator. “They are bullying the Chinese people.”
The complaints are an extension of similar angry sentiment expressed last week when Samsung, after not including China in the recall of 2.5 million smartphones initially because the China Galaxy 7s were outfitted with different batteries than the ones causing fires in other markets, finally recalled a tiny batch of 1,858 phones in China.
The episode doesn’t improve Samsung’s standing in the world’s largest smartphone market, but the events might not be avoidable. Similar to the U.S., attitudes in China are shaped in the social media echo chamber, and Samsung’s perceived bias is a part of many of the comments made today.