In the latest blow to the reputation of Samsung Electronics Co., China’s state broadcaster Thursday accused the tech giant of “discrimination” against Chinese consumers as the company attempts to replace batteries of the Galaxy Note 7 under its global recall of the devices.
The world’s top smartphone maker recalled almost 2.5 million of its latest device after reports of the device catching fire, mostly while on charge, surfaced — just two weeks after its Aug. 19 launch. The battery-related problems led to the South Korean company stopping the sale of the phone and announcing a recall for 10 countries on Sept. 2.
CCTV posted a commentary on its website where it referred to the smartphone maker’s attitude towards its Chinese customers as “full of arrogance,” after Samsung released a video apology for its U.S. consumers but only a brief statement — saying most phones did not need to be replaced — for the Chinese Samsung users.
“Samsung’s discriminatory policy has caused discontent from Chinese consumers,” CCTV said, to which the smartphone maker has not replied, Reuters reported.
According to Samsung, most handsets of the defective model on sale in China come with batteries from a different supplier and hence were not a part of its September global recall. However, there have been a number of reports of some Note 7s catching fire in the country, causing Samsung China to issue a statement apologizing to Chinese consumers Thursday for a “lack of sufficient explanation.”
While Samsung was once the country’s top smartphone brand, its numbers have fallen steadily. Reuters reported that since 2015, the company does not make it even to the top five names with the rise of indigenous brands like Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo, who have taken the market by storm.
Samsung now faces the monumental task of rebuilding its brand value as it carries out the mass recall and replacement of batteries to regain ground with its traditional strongholds.