Samsung has issued a statement denying allegations that it paid people to appear as fans at the Chinese launch of the Galaxy S6. Shanghai based news agency, The Paper, claimed that some 1,000 people were paid to appear at the event, making up more than half of all attendees.
An alleged fan recruiter claimed to have hired some 100 people to attend the event, while several other similar recruiters did the same. There was apparently requirements for these fans, as Samsung had apparently asked for people who were younger than 30 and looked like students. Each of these “fans” was paid 30 yuan for mingling in the area for about an hour, while the recruiters earned 20 yuan per person they brought in.
These “fans” claimed to have been directed on what to say if asked about why they attended the launch event. The recruiters had directed them to claim that they are Samsung fans, and that they were interested in the new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. However, the report also pointed out that these “fans” were seen taking pictures of Samsung’s latest flagship device using iPhones.
Samsung has fully denied hiring people to attend its event, calling the story “totally groundless and bogus”. A post on the official Samsung Tomorrow blog claims that the newspaper has corroborated Samsung’s findings from its internal investigation, and that the original story was retracted. However, it appears that Samsung is not done yet and is contemplating demanding a correction. The electronics giant is also looking into how the story first appeared.
This is not the first claim of Samsung hiring fans to influence public opinion; there was an earlier story of the company paying students to criticism HTC devices in Taiwan, although the company blame an external agency for the matter (despite being fined for it).
It is likely that was simply another rumour that got out of control and was taken to be true. This isn’t the first time that Samsung has been caught up in this sort of thing, and it certainly is not the last.