CHENGDU, China (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A government department in the Chinese city of Chengdu in the south-western Sichuan province has banned its employees from using the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in the office, following moves by domestic airlines and national civil aviation authorities to ban the use of the phone on airplanes.
Chengdu Service, the micro-blog account of Chengdu's Government Affairs Service Centre, posted a notice to employees on Monday (Sept 26) that it would ban the use of the smartphones for safety reasons.
The notice said monitoring would be increased in an area outside its office that was set up to provide free internet and recharging services for visitors.
"If visitors are found recharging Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones, you should persuade them to stop," the notice said.
However, after some media outlets reported that the ban was targeting visitors to the service centre, the post was removed with an explanation that the rule is an in-house policy for employees, not visitors.
Jing Rong, an office worker at the center, said on Tuesday that she has been informed of the new policy, and she would use her old phone, an iPhone 5, to replace her Galaxy Note 7.
"My superior said the centre's decision-makers thought the phone's battery might cause a fire or explosion when it is recharged," she said.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China has banned passengers from using or recharging the Galaxy Note 7 cellphones on domestic flights. It has also banned them in checked-in luggage.
At least five Galaxy Note 7 users in China have reported that their phones exploded, although it is not known whether the incidents were related to battery issues.
The latest incident was reported on Tuesday, with Liaoning TV reporting that a resident experienced his Galaxy Note 7 vibrating, becoming hot and burning.
Samsung said it will recall 1,858 Galaxy Note 7 cellphones that were manufactured between July 20 and Aug 5 and distributed in China through a Samsung website as part of a trial before the official Sept 1 launch date, according to the country's product quality watchdog.
Globally, since the debut of the Galaxy Note 7 last month, there have been about 100 reported incidents of battery explosions.
On Taisheng South Road in downtown Chengdu, which is the busiest street for cellphone transactions in the city, almost all stores specialising in Samsung cellphones sell the Galaxy Note 7 for 5,988 yuan (S$1,224).
"Few buyers are showing interest in the model," said Ke Xiqian, a sales representative at a Samsung store.