Samsung launches Note 8 in China, confident in winning back consumers

Updated 2017-09-14 14:30:17
D.J. Koh, president of mobile communications at Samsung, delivers a speech at the Galaxy Note 8 launch event in Beijing on Sept 13, 2017.

D.J. Koh, president of mobile communications at Samsung, delivers a speech at the Galaxy Note 8 launch event in Beijing on Sept 13, 2017.

Just hours after Apple Inc unveiled its next iPhones to the world, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the world's largest smartphone vendor, launched its flagship Galaxy Note 8 in Beijing on Wednesday.

D.J. Koh, president of mobile communications at Samsung, said at the event that China is an important market for Samsung, and he is confident the company will win back Chinese consumers' love.

"We will do that by consistently listening to Chinese consumers and delivering technology and innovation that matters to them," Koh said.

As most specifications of the phablet were already released at its original launch event in New York on Aug 23, the unveiling of Note 8's price in China was the highlight of the event.

The high-end handset, available in 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB internal storage options, is priced at 6,988 yuan (,069.97), 7,388 yuan and 7,988 yuan respectively in China, Samsung announced.

Sporting a 6.3-inch AMOLED screen and continuing Samsung's dual-edge curved display design, the Note 8 is powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor and is Samsung's first smartphone to feature a dual-lens camera system equipped with optical image stabilization.

It also supports a range of biometric features, including iris, fingerprint and face recognition.

In addition, S Pen, the unique accessory for the Note 8, can now be used to directly write memos on the screen without unlocking the handset first.

To eliminate the battery explosion concerns caused by the Note 7 last year, Samsung hired UL, a global independent safety science company, to test the battery of the Note 8.

Sajeev Jesudas, senior vice-president of UL, endorsed the handset's safety at the event, saying the Note 8 has successfully completed a rigorous series of device and battery safety compatibility tests.

However, after only seizing 3 percent of China's market and slipping to sixth place in the second quarter of this year, Samsung has fallen behind its Chinese competitors and Apple, according to data from a Counterpoint Research report.

The South Korean company entered the Chinese market 25 years ago. With nine manufacturing bases, seven R&D centers and one design center established in China, Samsung still has belief in its localization strategy, Koh said.

Chen Liren, vice-president of Samsung's content strategy department in China, announced the company's mobile payment tool Samsung Pay now supports Tencent's WeChat Pay and Alibaba's Alipay and will include Inc's payment tool in the future.

In addition, Samsung has partnered with China's leading bike-sharing company Mobike, Chen said.

Instead of opening Mobike's app, the Note 8 smartphone's camera can scan the QR code of Mobike's shared bike and unlock it directly, a Mobike executive said.

The two companies also have partnered in adopting NFC, or near-field communication, technology to unlock bikes, the executive said.

As pre-orders for the Note 8 in China will run from Wednesday to Sept 26 and its sale will begin on Sept 29, the market's attitude toward Samsung will be clear soon.

Koh said he feels confident in the company, as the number of pre-orders for Note 8 from about 40 countries has hit the highest-ever record for the Note series, according to a report by Asia Today.

In addition, he said Samsung has a plan to launch a foldable smartphone in 2018, according to Reuters.

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