The following story is so sensational, so “nooo way!” that I sat on it for a few hours after first seeing photos and “tweets” about it on Weibo (aka China’s version of Twitter): the factory that made batteries for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caught fire.
The dozens of “tweets” from Weibo, with photos of thick black smoke coming out of the plant looked convincing. I also checked in with some friends in China who work in the tech industry, and they too considered the news to be legit. Still, I hesitated to post about it because I didn’t want to end up writing a post about a Note 7 battery factory going up in flames without further confirmation… because the story seemed too ridiculous, too good to be true.
Well, that confirmation is here. Bloomberg reported that there was indeed a fire at “plant operated by the affiliate of Samsung Electronics in Tianjin.”
A Samsung spokesperson announced that the fire was small (though the black smoke spilling over the skies doesn’t exactly look “small”) and clarified that it happened at a waste depository factory, not a production one.
Now a manufacturing plant catching fire wouldn’t be much news normally, but considering all the drama the Galaxy Note 7 caused with its battery fires, and the recent rumors that Samsung is ditching at least one of its battery suppliers to go with a Japanese manufacturer, this incident is yet another chapter to the bizarre Note 7 fiasco, which unfolded over a surreal stretch from September 2 to October 11.
Samsung’s scheduled to unveil its first new flagship since the Note 7 in late March, and excitement for that phone is likely to remain high despite yet another reminder that the company’s last phone was the biggest consumer electronic failure in decades.