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* Delay comes amid reports of new phone’s battery exploding
* Samsung counting on Galaxy Note 7 to maintain sales momentum
By Se Young Lee
SEOUL, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Wednesday shipments of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone are being delayed as the firm conducts additional quality control testing for the premium device.
“Shipments of the Galaxy Note 7 are being delayed due to additional tests being conducted for product quality,” Samsung said in a statement to Reuters. The firm did not elaborate on what it is testing and to what markets shipments are being delayed.
Local media reports have said some users of the Galaxy Note 7, which launched in South Korea and other markets earlier this month, have claimed that the battery for their phones exploded.
Quality control problems, if confirmed, could deal a major blow to the world’s top smartphone maker as the firm is counting on the sales of the new device to maintain sales momentum for the mobile business in the second half of this year.
Samsung has previously said demand for the new Galaxy Note phone is far exceeding demand, creating a supply shortage and forcing it to push back the launch of the phone in some markets. The firm has said it is utilising all possible means to boost production.
Production problems for the curved displays for the Galaxy S6 edge phone resulted in disappointing sales last year, and some investors fear a repeat if Samsung does not move quickly to meet Note 7 demand.
The Galaxy Note 7 retails in South Korea for 988,900 won ($887.63) without subsidies.
Samsung’s other premium smartphone models that launched in March, the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, have been huge hits with customers and helped boost its earnings in the first half of 2016. ($1 = 1,114.0900 won) (Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)