Samsung’s phone fiasco has become exceedingly complex, as things tend to be in China, with two recent phone explosions in the country.

This happened three days after Samsung pledged that Note 7 handsets manufactured for official sale in China were perfectly safe because the batteries came from a separate supplier and therefore faultless.

Both the battery supplier ATL and Samsung have come out with statements saying that from the looks of the burn marks, the fires were not directly caused by batteries, but that the phones were exposed to an “external heat source”.

Though there is more than one way to interpret this (external as in it was put over an electric heater, or as in within the phone but not the battery), Chinese netizens take it as a hint that Samsung is saying they are being smeared.

Most of the arguments circulating today all sprung from an what seems like an overly confident accusation from the audacious KOL Wang Zeqi.

“It’s true the Samsung’s SDI batteries blow up, and that ATL batteries don’t. What’s also true is that a Chinese competitor,  the “national pride”, intentionally burned two Note7 phones as a debilitating blow to Samsung” he said, implying foul play by Huawei. “There are plenty of companies that are better established and have a longer history, you have to have a conscience even if you’re going to compete” he continued,  though he did not give any evidence to back his  words.

Huawei has just come out with an official statement to settle the propagating arguments, saying that Huawei hand no part behind the two suspicious phones. “Someone nosy has been defaming Huawei saying we had a hand in this… We reiterate that we never do malicious deeds or add insult to injury.” Earlier on the 16th the spokesperson for Huawei’s consumer business Yang Haiguo posted on Weibo: “Huawei is not the main beneficiary of the Samsung explosions, Apple is. For Huawei, it’s more of a reminder that quality is a sword hanging above our heads.”


The scorched Chinese made Samsung Note 7

The two phone combustions in China were described as flames bursting out after violent vibrations, notably different from typical cases of Note 7 explosions, where the phone ignites explodes while charging.

The Korean paper Chosun Daily claims that the Chinese explosions were caused intentionally by hoaxers hoping to reap compensation, which was expressed earlier by this user on WeChat. The report cited suspicious scorch marks on the frame of the phone, while the battery remained unscathed.

The Chinese internet is ablaze with debate over the perplexing cause of the burnt phones.

“It’s clear there was heat from outside the phone, but that doesn’t mean that the heat actually made the phone combust.  I think the phone was damaged and a competitor took advantage to make it look like another defect phone” commented user Dunhe1942.

“Even if it were a scandal, it would have been one of the lesser brands, an arbitrary decision by the boss would make it happen. It would take ages for a large company to resolve to do this,” argued Mulidafeng.

Techblogger Zong Ning tells Technode that there’s always the possibility it was a typical battery accident which occasionally happens, which unfortunately coincided with the recalls.

“It doesn’t really matter if Huawei is behind all this anymore, because the effect Huawei wants has been achieved. But if it’s revealed that Huawei’s behind all this, they stand to lose just as much,” said Weibo user Kejihuichen.

Over half of current Samsung users in China said they wanted to switch to a different brand after the recall, and Huawei was voted as their first preference. 42.5% said their next phone would Huawei, while 28.5% said they would choose Apple, according to a survey held by Tencent’s think tank.

What will become of the two mysterious cases over China’s scorched phones remains to be seen, and as we wait to see if it will unfold to reveal a scandal, the Chinese internet is buzzing with speculation.

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April Ma

Based in Beijing, April Ma writes on tech trends and covers startups that may (or may not) be the next BATs. Reach her at or Mafangjing (Wechat).