[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Electronics, which is reeling from battery explosions of its latest flagship smartphone Galaxy Note 7, is expected to sell the refurbished products of its handset from next year, according to sources.
“Samsung has not made a final decision yet, but it will likely sell the refurbished Note 7 units next year,” an industry source said.
The source anticipated the refurbished handsets will be mostly sold in emerging markets such as India and Vietnam where low-end and mid-range smartphones are popular.
A Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone is displayed at a Seoul retail shop.
In 1995, Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who is now bedridden due to a 2014 heart attack, had 150,000 units of Anycall mobile phones destroyed in order to remind Samsung executives and employees of the importance of product quality.
Rumor has it that Samsung could take a similar measure this time in the wake of the recent battery fiasco, in which a number of Note 7 handsets caught fire or exploded.
After a series of reports on the fires and explosion of the phone, Samsung announced a recall program on Sept. 2 for the entire 2.5 million Note 7 units, shipped in 10 nations, including Korea and the US.
Samsung said that it would resume the sale of Note 7 on Oct. 1, postponed three days from the previous schedule.
For the five days since the recall program started in Korea on Sept. 19, around 200,000 Note 7 buyers have exchanged their handset with a new Samsung smartphone, accounting for 50 percent of the entire Note 7 customers.
In Singapore and the US, the recall rate crossed the 50-percent mark in one day and two days, respectively, since the start of the recall.
The ongoing battery crisis of the Note 7 is an agonizing situation for local telecom firms as the Note 7 had been highly expected to spur sluggish demand in the smartphone industry.
Kwon Young-soo, the chief executive of mobile carrier LG Uplus, said in a recent media event that the recent battery issue is an “unfortunate incident,” not only for the smartphone maker, but also for the overall telecom industry, adding he hoped things could get back on track soon.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)