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Samsung apologizes to Chinese consumers for handset flaws

South Korean electronics giant promises free repairs and extended warranties following a state-run TV report on allegedly faulty memory chips.


Samsung issued an apology to Chinese consumers on Wednesday after China's state-run media criticized the Korean electronics giant for selling handsets with allegedly faulty memory chips.

The company offered to provide free repairs and extended warranties on seven models after a broadcast on the influential China Central Television on Tuesday reported how Samsung handsets, including the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series, crash several times a day due to the memory chips. The report said the issue could be resolved with a $100 chip upgrade that was not covered under current warranties.

In a statement posted to Samsung's China Web site, the electronics giant apologized for the inconvenience, which it blamed on "management problems." It also pledged to repair affected devices, refunds on previously repaired devices, and replacement handsets in some cases.

Samsung is not the first tech company coming to come under CCTV scrutiny for its warranty practices. In April, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued an apology over its warranty policies in China and promised improved services after a report on the station. The initial report claimed Apple repaired only broken or otherwise faulty parts within its products for customers in China, versus providing new replacements in other countries.

Cook's apology came during Apple's continuing efforts to land an iPhone distribution deal with the world's largest mobile carrier. Support from China Mobile, which has about 745 million customers, would open up a vast number of new customers for Apple.

Meanwhile, Samsung hopes its apology goes a long way toward helping it maintain its lead position in China's smartphone market. The company sold 30 million devices in the country last year for a 17.7 percent market share, outpacing No. 2 Lenovo's 13 percent share and No. 3 Apple's 11 percent share.