April 21, 2017 - 16:53 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Samsung's new Galaxy S8 went on sale over the counter in South Korea Friday, April 21 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, AFP says.
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 (Berlin: DI6.BE - news) 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.
Samsung Electronics is the flagship subsidiary of the giant Samsung Group, whose revenues are equivalent to a fifth of South Korea's gross domestic product, and the S8 series introduction comes at a delicate time for the embattled firm.
The Note 7 recall debacle cost it billions of dollars in lost profit and hammered its global reputation and credibility, forcing it to apologise to customers and postpone the S8 launch.