Samsung fined for slanderous marketing by Taiwanese regulators

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Samsung was fined on Thursday by the Taiwanese government for paying marketing companies to attack rival HTC in a slanderous internet campaign, one day after the Korean electronics giant was forced to apologize to Chinese consumers for hardware problems with its smartphones.

The HTC One, which reportedly prompted Samsung's unfair marketing campaign

A fine in Taiwan

In the conclusion of a case in which the company was accused of using "dirty tricks" against its smaller rival, Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission has fined Samsung NT$10 million New Taiwan Dollars ($340,000) for ordering an internet smear campaign against Taiwanese phone maker HTC. The marketing company in charge of executing the campaign on Samsung's behalf was also fined to the tune of NT$3 million ($102,000), reports BBC News.

When the accusations were made public earlier this year, Samsung Taiwan immediately put a halt to its internet marketing initiatives, including "all marketing activities that involve the posting of anonymous comments."

Samsung later admitted to the wrongdoing, saying the "incident was unfortunate, and occurred due to insufficient understanding of these [the company's] fundamental principles."

Thursday's fine marks Samsung's second punishment from Taiwan's FTC this year. The regulatory body slapped Samsung with a NT$300,000 ($102,000) in the spring for false advertising claims related to one of its Galaxy series handsets.

An apology in China

Meanwhile, on Wednesday of this week, Samsung issued a written apology to Chinese consumers following a China Central Television report regarding hardware flaws Samsung's Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 devices. A firmware problem in the devices can reportedly lead to memory chip damage, forcing the handsets to crash multiple times per day.

Samsung blamed third-party apps for causing the hardware malfunctions

"We welcome the scrutiny from the media. Due to problems with management that brought inconvenience to our customers, the company expresses its sincerest of apologies," read a message on Samsung's Chinese website, according to ComputerWorld.

"Exposing" the practices of foreign companies and forcing hat-in-hand apologies is a somewhat common story for China's state-run television service. CCTV extracted a personal apology from Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier this year over Apple's warranty policies in the world's most populous nation, and coffee house Starbucks is currently in the network's sights.