Two next-generation OELD TVs by Samsung Electronics have disappeared en route to a technology trade fair in Germany. The TVs have yet to be released in the market and were to be displayed at the Internationale Funkausstellung in Berlin, Europe's biggest trade fair.
Samsung entrusted Korean logistics company Eplus Expo with their transport. A total of 55 OLED TVs were intended for delivery to Berlin and there were no problems in delivering the first batch of 25.
The problem was with the second batch of 30 that left Korea on Aug. 21. It went through customs at Incheon International Airport without a hitch and arrived in Frankfurt by Korean Air cargo on Aug. 24.
It went through customs there and was delivered to Messe Berlin on Aug. 28, where the IFA takes place. The trip takes five hours by car. "Aug. 25-26 was a weekend, so it appears that the delivery took four days," said a Samsung staffer.
When a Samsung employee opened the container box on Aug. 28, only 28 TVs were left. Samsung immediately contacted police in Berlin and Gyeonggi Province. "We still don't know when or where the TVs went missing," the Samsung staffer said. "But there is a strong possibility that they disappeared during the four-day delivery period in Germany."
Products delivered by air undergo thorough customs screening at both ends, including x-ray scans, so Samsung believes all of the TVs were there when they arrived in Frankfurt.
The OLED TVs Samsung sent to Berlin were intended for display in the showrooms at the trade fair and local stores. Samsung said it secured enough of the TVs earlier so there are no problems. The models are scheduled to go into mass production in the fourth quarter of this year and are the largest OLED TVs to be developed so far, with 55-inch screens. They drew the attention of rivals and buyers from around the world.
LG Electronics is the only company apart from Samsung set to release 55-inch OLED TVs in the fourth quarter.
"The police investigation is still continuing so we can't say whether it was theft or whether the products were simply lost," a Samsung staffer said. "The products cost tens of millions of won, but if they fell into the hands of rivals the technological loss would be astronomical."
Anyone getting their hands on the missing OLED TVs could see the circuitry by simply opening the back panel, which would allow rivals to speed up development of competing products, the electronics giant said.
The transport firm that handled delivery is responsible for the loss, and such businesses are usually insured, Samsung said. This is not the first time Samsung has lost a cutting-edge TV. In April 2001, it lost a 63-inch PDP TV in a hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the NAB international broadcast equipment fair was taking place. It was found a month later.