Samsung Electronics, still reeling from the impact of the global recall of its Note 7 smartphone, is caught in a fresh controversy after the technology giant’s senior management team in China were seen kneeling and bowing on stage during a dealers’ meeting in Shijiazhuang, capital of northern China’s Hebei province.
A picture of some 20 corporate executives making the submissive gesture went viral on social media, with some netizens blasting the Korean company for not respecting local culture by asking its Chinese staff to kneel down, thepaper.cn reports.
A Samsung media relations representative said the gesture is a traditional way for Korean people to express their gratitude.
The company wanted to thank its Chinese distributors for placing new orders of its smartphone products despite the recent scandal involving Note 7 batteries that reportedly caught fire while being recharged.
According to Sing Tao Daily, some netizens have suggested that Samsung might have violated its employees’ rights by forcing them to go down on their knees, noting that one man in the picture is seen pressing the heads of two other executives in an apparent bid to force them to bow down to the audience.
The netizens said Samsung was being too arrogant toward their staff, adding that the company should be reminded that they are in China and not in Korea.
A Samsung spokesperson clarified that nobody was forced to kneel down, noting that the Chinese executives were touched by the gesture of their South Korean colleagues, who were the first to kneel down, and they followed suit.
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