When Samsung launches a new flagship smartphone you would naturally think that there will be more than a few people that are willing to stand around and ogle the handset, wouldn’t you? Especially when the handsets in question are the stylish Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Apparently not so in China, where Samsung is alleged to have paid people to pose as fans and celebrate the launch of Samsung’s latest flagship devices.
According to a report from the Shanghai-based news outlet The Paper, Samsung paid 400-500 people to attend the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge press conference. Each so-called fan received 30 yuan ($4.80) to spend an hour or more at the event, with recruiters being paid 20 yuan ($3.25) for every person that was recruited. Seeing as there were around 1000 attendees at the press conference, that means that roughly half of them were allegedly fake.
The alleged recruits were required to supply their names, pictures and phone numbers on WeChat (an instant messaging app in China), as well as ‘liking’ Samsung’s Baidu page. If interviewed, the fans were to say that they at the press conference because they were Samsung fans and interested in the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. One such fan said that she got the job by answering an ad on WeChat, earning 50 yuan ($8) for staying more than 15 minutes.
If true, it isn’t the most unusual thing that Samsung has ever been accused of, but it still isn’t quite kosher is it? And while it’s probably just a sign of the desperate measures that Samsung sees necessary to gain market share in China from the iPhone, it does beg the question – what else is Samsung doing that it is getting away with?
Update: Samsung has refuted these claims on its official blog, stating that “under no circumstances has anyone been hired or given money to attend the event (Galaxy S6 launch in China)“. After Samsung’s investigation into the story, the news outlet that first broke the story has retracted the erroneous story. And there we have it folks, time to put the pitchforks down.