Samsung and Apple are among the tech companies to provide more than RMB 200 million ($32 million) in donations following an earthquake in Sichuan, China, yesterday.
The companies have responded to the quake which is estimated to have left more than 200 people dead or missing, 11,800 injured and upwards of 100,000 homeless. Sina Tech reports [via Google Translate] that donations from tech firms in China quickly tipped RMB 200 million within one day, with Samsung and Apple leading the efforts.
The Korean phone maker donated RMB 60 million (around $9.7 million), while Apple pledged RMB 50 million ($8 million). Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn — which employs more than 1 million staff in China — was among the other donors, also providing RMB 50 million in support.
While we would never suggest that one company would manipulate donations to ‘beat’ a rival, the donations come at an interesting time for both Apple and Samsung in China.
Samsung — which launches its new flagship Galaxy S4 in its first wave of countries (which excludes China) this month — recently topped China’s smartphone market for the first time, according to a Strategy Analytics report from March which found that its sales had tripled in 2012.
Apple has continued to weather criticism of its smartphone sales in China, despite revenue in China from its fiscal Q1 2013 jumping 67 percent to $6.8 billion as iPhone sales doubled year-on-year during the period. More importantly, perhaps, the donations come as Apple has been seen by some as playing the political cooperation game with Beijing.
A series of incidents — including a very public apology around device warranties, the banning of an app and the inclusion of the App Store on a list of sites with pornography — has seen consumer confidence the company drop (if you believe the media), with some 60 percent of Chinese consumers said to hold lower opinions of Apple products.
Based on that, it will be interesting to see what the public make — if anything — of the fact that Samsung has pledged more than Apple.
Samsung is certainly being very public with its offering. Details and the figures of its pledge were revealed on its Sina Weibo account in a message (hat tip Tech In Asia) from Samsung China president Zhang Yuanji which said “Samsung China is always with the Chinese people through thick and thin, to tide over the difficulties.”
In this difficult time, our hearts are with the victims of the Sichuan earthquake. In addition to cash donations to help the affected people during their difficulties, we are also committing to provide Apple computer equipment to a number of schools in disaster areas. Local Apple employees will be available to provide assistance as needed.
Image credit via AFP/Getty Images