BEIJING, China – Samsung will recall all Galaxy Note 7 smartphones sold in mainland China, amounting to around 191,000 units, China’s product safety regulator said Tuesday, in another setback for the tech giant in the world’s largest smartphone market.
Samsung’s move follows its discussions with the administration’s enforcement division and the launching of an investigation into defects, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement on its website. There have been 20 incidents of overheating and combustion of Galaxy Note 7 units in China, the regulator said.
Samsung earlier blamed a battery problem for making the phones prone to catch fire.
China was the only market excluded from Samsung’s first recall of Galaxy Note 7s. The company came under fire after it went ahead with launching the Galaxy Note 7 phone in China, saying that the smartphones sold there did not use the same batteries as other countries.
Samsung will either provide a full refund at the original price or replace Note 7 units with any other model of Samsung phone. Those who take the second option will receive a refund for the difference in prices between the products, along with a 300 yuan ($45) voucher.
The regulator also said Samsung’s China unit on Monday stopped the production and sale of the Galaxy Note 7 for consumer safety reasons.
Samsung announced late Tuesday that it was discontinuing all manufacturing of the devices.
Samsung’s brand has already been battered by complaints it is doing too little to reassure Chinese owners their handsets are safe.
Initially, Samsung had said in September that the Note 7s sold in China would not be affected because their batteries came from a different supplier, ATL. Samsung recalled 1,858 Note 7 phones in China in September, saying they were distributed for testing before sales to the public began on Sept. 1.
The latest recalls will disrupt Samsung’s efforts to use the Note 7 to propel faster growth in a crowded Chinese market where it has slipped to sixth place after being the No. 1 brand as recently as mid-2014. It trails market leader Huawei Technology Ltd. and three other local brands — Vivo, Xiaomi and Oppo. Apple Inc.’s iPhone was in fifth place in the first half of this year.