Seoul – Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 went on sale over the counter in South Korea Friday as the world’s biggest smartphone maker seeks to move on from a disastrous handset recall and corruption scandal that has hammered its once-stellar reputation.
The device, unveiled in New York last month and a challenge to Apple’s iPhone, is the firm’s first major launch since last year’s humiliating withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 over exploding batteries.
It also comes with vice-chairman Lee Jae-Yong and other executives on trial for bribery over their alleged role in the graft scandal that brought down former president Park Geun-Hye.
But the company’s profits are rising and the new phones have received good reviews, with more than one million pre-orders for the S8 and the larger S8+ in South Korea alone.
Shares in Samsung Electronics jumped more than 2.5 percent Friday, adding around $7 billion to its market capitalisation.
“Market reactions to the release of the S8 series are somewhat positive,” said Lee Seung-Woo of IBK Investment Securities. Samsung could break the record 48.5 million unit sales it achieved with its S7 series, he added.