Samsung Electronics on Wednesday apologized on its Chinese website for problems with the quality of its mobile phones that were covered in the Chinese media.
Samsung "sincerely" apologized to the Chinese public for the inconveniences. The apology came just two days after Chinese state-run broadcaster CCTV spent 30 minutes pointing out problems of Samsung mobile phones.
The Korean electronics giant also offered to fix for free problems cited by CCTV involving the Galaxy S3 and Note like calls going dead, and to improve shoddy after-sales service.
Some customers may also have their phones replaced.
Analysts say Samsung's priority is to contain the fallout amid the Chinese government's drive in recent months to bolster the rights of consumers.
"The problem could get worse if Chinese authorities or consumer rights groups decide to apply stringent laws," a Samsung staffer said.
Meanwhile, China is more strictly applying antitrust laws to foreign businesses there. In January, Beijing slapped a 353 million yuan or W61.5 billion (US$1=W1,063) fine on six foreign companies, including Samsung and LG as well as Chi Mei of Taiwan for colluding to fix prices of LCD monitors.
In July, foreign baby formula producers Mead Johnson, Abbot, Danone, Fontera and two others were slapped with fines of 670 million yuan for price fixing and unfair trade practices.
It was the highest fine since China enacted antitrust law in 2008. At present, foreign carmakers including Volkswagen are being investigated for overcharging Chinese customers.
Critical coverage of businesses often starts with China's state-run media. CCTV, the People's Daily and other state-run media first run critical reports about foreign businesses and Chinese authorities apparently launch probes if the businesses do not respond. In April, CCTV reported that Apple offered inferior after-sales service for its products in China, prompting CEO Tim Cook to apologize. In 2012, McDonald's and Carrefour were the targets of critical media reports.
One diplomatic source in Beijing said, "There are complaints that Chinese authorities are cracking down on foreign businesses to protect domestic companies." The source added, "It's important to protect the rights of consumers, but excessive regulation can be problematic."