Galaxy Note 7, the smartphone that thinks big, suddenly shook a Samsung loyalist's devotion after the South Korean's largest business conglomerate provided a confusing response to its latest product safety scare.
According to the news report made by ABC News, Mr. Liu Jingtang, Shanghai Techonology consultant, traded up steadily through its smartphones to the new Note 7.
However, he said that following reports China might have suffered its first explosion of the problem-plagued phone, Samsung's statement saying that they saw no problem with the battery with no further explanation left him bemused.
Mr. Liu said Samsung Electronics hastily confirmed his Note 7 wasn't covered by the last week announcement of recall.
"My loyalty to Samsung is bound to decline by a lot," according to Mr. Liu. "Samsung was my priority, but not anymore," he added.
Although Samsung has not confirmed anyone else in China has suffered the same glitches that led to fires in the United States, but its brand has recently been weather-beaten by complaints as purportedly it's been doing too little to regain the Chinese customers' confidence and reassurance that their handsets are safe.
Chinese consumers may be strangely alert to safety issues following an avalanche of outrage over sloppy or fake food, medicines and other items, but they are also sensitive about being treated as well as Western consumers.
According to Ben Cavender of China Market Research Group, "I think consumers are pretty unhappy with Samsung. Consumers start to feel like they are being taken advantage of, that they are not being accorded the same respect here as they are abroad."
"In any given month, a brand is going to leapfrog another brand and come up with a brighter screen or bigger battery of faster charging," said Cavender.
Samsung customers were upset by saying no phones in China were covered by its global recall and then recalling 1,858 phones. Samsung said in a statement that it is certain Note 7s sold by authorized outlets in China are safe.
As cited by ABC, according to a website comment of the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily, "For Samsung to recall only 1,858 units in China while it recalls 1 million in the United States seems insincere;" "Whether those phones that are not recalled will wind up being a problem or not will be a bomb planted in the hearts of customers," it said.
Samsung said that unspecified external factors might be to blame based on an investigation regarding report of a Galaxy Note 7 fire in China. It said it was unable to investigate a second fire report because the consumer declined to hand over the charred mobile phone.
Samsung has blamed the fires on a manufacturing flaw in batteries. However they said that units of Note 7 sold in China would not be affected because theirs came from a different supplier.
Samsung is the world's biggest smartphone brand by number of units sold. In China it trails market leader Huawei Technology Ltd. and the other local brands, namely: Vivo, Xiaomi and Oppo. Apple Inc.'s iPhone was in fifth place in the first half of this year.
"The Note 7 was a good opportunity (to expand sales), but they blew it," said Liu.
On an outlet of Suning, the country's biggest electronics retailer in the Wangjing neighborhood on Bejiing's northeast side, there were different insights and reactions by customers when Note 7 was on sale last Tuesday.
"Sales for Note 7 were slightly affected by the incident but we are still selling them," said a saleswoman who was reached by phone at an outlet of Suning. "We are making explanations to customers every day, it is up to the customer to believe it or not," she added.
Meanwhile, a salesman who would give only his surname, Li said that a customer bought one Tuesday and no one asked about the report of an explosion.
"There are some customers who only favor Samsung and they don't bother asking questions," said Li.
AP researchers Fu Ting in Shanghai and Yu Bing in Beijing and AP Business Writer Youkyung Lee in Seoul contributed.
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