Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 went on sale over the counter in South Korea as the world’s biggest smartphone maker seeks to move on from a disastrous handset recall and corruption scandal that has hammered its once-stellar reputation.
The device, unveiled in New York last month and a challenge to Apple’s iPhone, is the firm’s first major launch since last year’s humiliating withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 over exploding batteries. It also comes with vice-chairman Lee Jae-Yong and other executives on trial for bribery over their alleged role in the graft scandal that brought down former president Park Geun-Hye.
But the company’s profits are rising and the new phones have received good reviews, with more than one million pre-orders for the S8 and the larger S8+ in South Korea alone. Shares in Samsung Electronics jumped more than 2.5 percent Friday, adding around $7 billion to its market capitalisation. “Market reactions to the release of the S8 series are somewhat positive,” said Lee Seung-Woo of IBK Investment Securities. Samsung could break the record 48.5 million unit sales it achieved with its S7 series, he added.
“Barring the weakening of the US dollar, Samsung’s second-quarter operating profit would reach 12 trillion won,” Lee said. Pre-order deliveries began earlier this week, and in-store sales begin in the US and Canada later Friday, with the device due to be rolled out to around 50 more countries next week.—AFP