Samsung’s recent launch event in China has been surrounded by controversy after the tech giant was accused of having paid people to attend the Galaxy S6’s reveal. A prominent Chinese news outlet called “The Paper” alleged that Samsung had promised to financially reimburse over 500 people if they attended one of the company’s press events in Shanghai last Friday.
The tech giant immediately dismissed the accusations, denying any implications in the events.
“Our findings have indicated that under no circumstances has anyone been hired or given money to attend the event,” a company spokesman said, insisting that the 1,100 attendees (officials and consumers included) had all been present following a formal invitation to the Shanghai Culture Square.
It seems that soon after the story broke, the media outlet also corroborated Samsung’s findings, retracting the story. Currently, Samsung is attempting to understand where the story originated from and if legal action should be taken against those responsible for this debacle.
According to the Chinese news outlet, half of the 1000 attendees had been approached by a recruiter and promised 30 yuan (close to US$5) if they attended the one-hour event. Furthermore, if these people would recruit additional “fans”, they would earn an extra 20 yuan. These fans had to be 30 years old (at the most) and were asked to look like students. As the Chinese report revealed, the Samsung Beijing office had initially undergone a vetting process for approximately 20 paid fans, however, the numbers then rose to 500 people.
Yet this isn’t the first time that such allegations have surrounded the Tech Giant. An incident in 2013, for instance, resulted in hefty fines for Samsung, which had paid off Taiwanese students to criticize HTC smartphones on online websites. Another incident involved “an agency of another agency” which allegedly offered money for developers to promote Samsung’s products on Stack Overflow.
Samsung’s market has been slowly dwindling in the face of iPhone, which has currently become the top contented in China’s smartphone market. There is an undeniable culture of fan “recruitment” all over China, especially when big companies are involved, but for the most part, hiring agencies operate separately from the organizer.
Image Source: Want China Times