Samsung to recall 1,858 Galaxy Note 7s in China

The Korean smartphone maker previously refused to recall its latest large-screen flagship model in China, claiming that Note 7 handsets sold in the country did not use fire-prone batteries.

After the interference of China's top quality watchdog, General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), Samsung China announced that starting Wednesday, it will recall 1,858 units of its Galaxy Note 7 phones, all of which were pre-orders from Samsung's official Chinese website ahead of its September 1 release.

All 1,858 Note 7 units will be replaced with a brand-new model free of charge, according to an AQSIQ statement published on Wednesday, which did not mention any arrangements for Note 7 phones sold in China after the official release. Units sold by other retailers are also unaccounted for.

After a number of Note 7 handsets were reported to have exploding batteries, Samsung immediately halted sales in 10 markets, except China -- the only market that Samsung refused to recall the model -- on the basis that Note 7s sold in China were equipped with safe batteries from a different supplier.

Samsung's special treatment for the Chinese market has not abated concerns as to whether the handsets are safe. Consumers should ask why Samsung adopts a different quality standard for China, industry expert Liu Xingliang said in a Sina report.

Samsung didn't reveal any of its Note 7 sales figures in China so far, other than the 1,858 pre-orders on its own official channel. Data from Samsung's official retail shop on Tmall, one of its major online sales platforms, indicates just over 12,000 Note 7 units sold in China as of Wednesday, two weeks after its official release there.

China's Civil Aviation Administration and a number of Chinese airlines recently issued warnings to ban the usage and charging of Note 7 units during flights. Putting the handsets in checked baggage is also prohibited, according to Chinese reports.

The Federal Aviation Administration also released a statement last week, advising passengers not to turn on or charge the devices in-flight or stow them in checked baggage.

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