Samsung launches Galaxy S8 in China, aims for comeback

The fate of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus in China will determine whether Samsung can resuscitate itself there after losing out to local competitors.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

Samsung Electronics has launched the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus in China, hoping the new offerings will return the company's standing there after losing out to local competitors.

The South Korean tech giant held the unveiling event at Beijing on Thursday, while official sales will begin there next week on May 25.

Mobile boss DJ Koh personally attended the launch event and stressed that China has been important for 25 years -- since China and South Korea began bilateral ties in 1992 -- and that Samsung will strive to become a brand the locals love.

Samsung said it will cooperate with local online service firms to offer a locally optimized Bixby, its virtual assistant introduced with the Galaxy S8.

It will also partner with local game giant Tencent for co-marketing. It will offer game live-streaming with local video platform iQiyi and 360-degree live streaming with social media giant Weibo.

In China and South Korea, it is launching the Galaxy S8 Plus 128GB version with 6GB RAM, as the markets have high-number of "early adopters", Koh previously said.

At the launch event for the flagship phone in Korea last month, the mobile boss said it was not giving up on China.

Samsung said it has nine production facilities, seven R&D centers, and a design center with 4,000 personnel in China.

Samsung ceded its top spot in smartphones in China to newcomer Xiaomi in 2014, and has since then fallen out of the top five, behind local competitors such as Oppo and Vivo.

Last year, Koh promised a return to form there with the launch of S7, but price-competitive, high-quality phones from locals and a mishandling of the Note 7 debacle saw its clout there further dwindle.

Samsung has sold 5 million Galaxy S8s so far globally -- a total of 10 million have been shipped to distributors and sellers since its launch -- and the phone has been generally well-received.

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