Samsung executives ‘kneel in front of Chinese dealers’

By Zhang Ye Source:Global Times Published: 2016/10/30 22:38:39

Kwon Oh-hyun, co-vice chairman and co-chief executive officer of Samsung Electronics Co, speaks on stage during the company's extraordinary general meeting at Samsung's Seocho office building in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday. Photo: CFP

Kwon Oh-hyun, co-vice chairman and co-chief executive officer of Samsung Electronics Co, speaks on stage during the company's extraordinary general meeting at Samsung's Seocho office building in Seoul, South Korea, on Thursday. Photo: CFP

Chinese executives of Samsung Electronics went down on their knees during a dealers' meeting held in Shijiazhuang, capital of North China's Hebei Province, in an attempt to apologize for the company's battery scandal, a local dealer said over the weekend on condition of anonymity.

Domestic phone retailers, who once had big hopes for Samsung Galaxy Note 7, experienced losses after the smartphone model was banned and recalled in most parts of the world over safety concerns, the dealer told the Global Times on Sunday via telephone.

Many photos were posted to social networking sites showing several Samsung staff kneeling on the stage at a meeting with phone distributors in Shijiazhuang.

Hui Renjie, who posted the images, told the Global Times on Sunday that he got them from Samsung employees who were unhappy with Samsung's "arrogant" management policy.

Hui's Weibo post on Saturday claimed that the executives in the pictures were forced to go down their knees. He criticized that Samsung did not respect its employees.

The South Korean company couldn't be reached for comment by press time, but a Samsung PR representative was quoted by domestic news portal yicai.com on Sunday as saying that the company did not force Chinese employees to kneel.

In South Korea, kneeling is regarded as a special greeting gesture to show respect. By doing so, executives from South Korea and China just wanted to show their respect and gratefulness to dealers who ordered lots of their products despite the Galaxy Note 7 scandal, the PR representative said.

The anonymous dealer, who has been selling handsets for more than 10 years, called the Samsung executives' action an understandable move.

"Through such sincerity and honesty, Samsung expects to maintain a partnership with us and ask us to continue selling their phones," said the dealer. "Distributors' faith in Samsung has been dampened recently, as they were concerned that the battery scandal would further weaken Samsung's brand in the country's fiercely competitive smartphone battleground."

A Counterpoint Technology Market Research report released on Tuesday showed that the South Korean player was squeezed out of the top five smartphone vendors in the Chinese market by shipments during the third quarter.

Local brands OPPO and Vivo became the two top brands in the market for the first time with shares of 16.6 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively.

The recent withdrawal of the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 cut Samsung's mobile business earnings 96 percent year-on-year in the third quarter to 100 billion won ($87.6 million), the lowest level in nearly eight years, according to the company's latest quarterly report on Thursday.

In the eyes of the dealer, the Galaxy Note 7 problem was just another issue further driving dealers apart from Samsung.

"Many dealers had already stopped selling Samsung phones over the past two years," he said.



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