Just when you think a scandal can't get worse and that all the sordid details have surfaced, something new comes to light. Samsung's ongoing problems with the discontinued Galaxy Note 7 is the story that won't go away. The New York Times reports that Samsung employees offered a new phone and cash to a Chinese man who filmed his new Note 7 catching on fire, on the condition that he would not publicly release the video.
According to the Times, a man named Zhang Sitong bought a Note 7 in Tianjin after being assured by Samsung that the phones being sold in China did not suffer from the same hardware problem that triggered the recall of all Note 7s purchased in the United States. Mr. Zhang claims that his phone started to smoke while he was typing in a phone number. He dropped it on the ground, and asked his friend to start filming.
Samsung must have been keeping a close eye on social media, because two Samsung employees approached Mr. Zhang later that day. Zhang claims they asked him to keep his video private, offering him a new Note 7 and about $900 in exchance for his silence. He refused, and has since then teamed up with China Central Television to investigate and publicize the problems he experienced with Samsung's smartphone.
Mr. Zhang's story, among others, has hurt Samsung's business in China. Back in 2013, the Korean manufacturer's market share in China was 19%, partly fueled by China's fascination with Korean culture, according to the New York Times. However, that market share tumbled to 7% in the second quarter of 2016, as Chinese manufacturers Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo gained ground. In light of the recent scandal, it's hard to see Samsung maintaining—let alone regaining—its market share in China in the short term.
Samsung is actively working to regain the trust of consumers worldwide, though. In addition to public apologies and a worldwide recall, Samsung is headed to airports to help its customers swap out their phones for safer models. Since it's now illegal to take a Note 7 on board an airplane in the United States, Samsung has set up kiosks in San Francisco and Australia to help owners exchange their device for a different model before going through a security checkpoint. The kiosks should hopefully prevent some consumers from having their phones confiscated before they can take advantage of Samsung's refund offers. As we've mentioned on the site before, anyone who's still stubbornly hanging on to a Note 7 would be wise to start the process of replacing the device.
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