Samsung to launch refurbished Galaxy Note 7s in S Korea for $841

PHOTO: Reuters

Seoul - Samsung Electronics said Sunday it would start selling a refurbished version of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone this week after an embarrassing recall over exploding batteries rocked the tech giant last year.

The recall of millions of Galaxy Note 7 devices cost the world's largest smartphone maker billions of dollars in lost profits and hammered its global reputation.

The refurbished device, made of recalled, unsealed Note 7 handsets and unused components are outfitted with new batteries, Samsung said in a statement.

The limited-edition phone - the Galaxy Note Fan Edition (FE) - will hit shelves in South Korea on July 7, Samsung said, adding it would only sell 400,000 units at home.

The firm said it would decide later whether to release the refurbished edition elsewhere, which is priced at 699,000 won (S$841) domestically, far lower than the previous version that was nearly $1,000.

About three million Galaxy Note 7 handsets were returned to the firm last year, but campaign groups including Greenpeace have expressed concern that discarding the phones could harm the environment.

"The latest launch of the Galaxy Note FE... has a significant meaning as an environment-friendly project that minimised the waste of resources," Samsung said in a statement.

The recall - the largest-ever by the South Korean tech giant - was deeply embarrassing for Samsung, but it has just launched a new flagship device, the Galaxy S8, to positive reviews and strong orders.

In April Samsung posted its biggest quarterly net profit in more than three years, although the company has come under pressure on wider fronts.

Samsung heir arrested in S Korea corruption probe

  • Lee Jae-Yong, the heir to the Samsung business empire, denies all charges in connection with a wide-ranging corruption scandal, his lawyers told a preliminary hearing Thursday (Mar 9).
  • Lee, 48, was not present at Seoul Central District court for the hearing, which comes as his giant company struggles to recover from a recall scandal.
  • "Everyone denies all the charges," a defence lawyer told the court at the hearing, which lasted little more than an hour.
  • Lee was arrested on Feb 17 on bribery and other charges related to a political corruption scandal that triggered the impeachment of President Park Geun-Hye.
  • Among other allegations, Lee is accused of paying nearly US$40 million (S$56.7 million) in bribes to a confidante of President Park's to secure policy favours.
  • One of the favours which Lee allegedly sought from Park was state approval for a controversial merger in 2015 of two Samsung units seen as a key step to ensure a smooth transfer of power to him.
  • Lee, the son of Samsung group boss Lee Kun-Hee, was quizzed several times before his arrest over his alleged role in the scandal that has rocked the nation.
  • The 48-year-old, described as a key suspect in the scandal, narrowly avoided being formally arrested in January, after the court ruled there was insufficient evidence.
  • On Feb 28, Lee and four other top Samsung executives were indicted Tuesday on multiple charges including bribery and embezzlement.
  • The scandal centres on Choi Soon-Sil, who is accused of using her close ties with Park to force local firms to "donate" nearly US$70 million to non-profit foundations, which Choi allegedly used for personal gain.
  • Samsung was the single biggest donor to the foundations.
  • It is also accused of separately giving millions of euros to Choi to bankroll her daughter's equestrian training in Germany.
  • Lee has effectively been at the helm of Samsung since his father suffered a heart attack in 2014.

Lee Jae-Yong, the Samsung group's vice-chairman and heir to its leadership, is on trial for bribery over his role in a massive corruption scandal that brought down impeached former president Park Geun-Hye.

Lee is accused of bribing Park and her confidante Choi Soon-Sil with millions of dollars to seek regulatory favours.

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