PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 April, 2013, 1:00pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

In China, Samsung outshines Apple in Sichuan earthquake donations


Patrick Boehler has published on China and Southeast Asia in four languages for publications in the US, Europe and Asia. After stints with Austria's ministries of defence and foreign affairs in Vienna and Beijing, he began his reporting career in Kuala Lumpur with the Malaysian online news portal Malaysiakini and, later, The Irrawaddy Magazine, a Myanmar exile publication in Thailand. He holds a doctorate in political science and has taught journalism at the University of Hong Kong. Follow him on Twitter: @mrbaopanrui

As rescuers worked against time to reach those still trapped in rubble left by the devastating Sichuan earthquake, tech companies on Monday were also in a race, vying for generosity points in one of the world's largest markets.

Samsung, the world's largest smartphone maker, is donating 60 million yuan (HK$75.4 million) to help relief efforts in Yaan, the company said in a weibo post on Monday morning.

The South Korean company led China's smartphone market for the first time last year. It nearly tripled its sales from 10 million to 30 million units last year, according to market researcher Strategy Analytics.

Samsung did not specify to whom the funds would go. The post has been shared some 16,000 times in the first three hours.

Less than two hours after Samsung's announcement, Sina reported that Apple, Samsung's biggest global competitor, would be donating 50 million yuan to help with relief efforts.

Apple also pledged to provide computer equipment and training to some schools in the disaster zone.

The California-based company has had its share of problems in China, after national broadcaster CCTV and the flagship national paper, the People's Daily, ran a series of stories critical of Apple's discretionary customer service on the mainland.

Apple is now struggling to compete with Samsung in the high-end smartphone market. A study last week showed that more than half of surveyed iPhone owners would like to own a new Samsung phone.

Chinese firm Lenovo, which has the second-largest market share in smartphones after Samsung, pledged 4,000 mobile phones and SIM cards to quake relief efforts.

HTC, Taiwan's leading smartphone maker, offered 5 million yuan to the rescue efforts. China's up-and-coming smartphone maker Xiaomi and software giant Microsoft both promised 1 million yuan each.

Nokia said it would also donate 1 million yuan in funds and phones to help with the rescue efforts. 



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