Xiaomi ‘cov­er­ing up’ smart­phone fire

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEWS - By OUYANG SHIJIA ouyang­shi­jia@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Tech gi­antXiaomi Corp has al­legedly been try­ing to cover up an in­ci­dent in which one its Redmi Note 3 phones caught fire while charg­ing, which may dam­age the Bei­jing­com­pany’s smart­phone busi­ness.

A Chi­nese owner of a Redmi Note 3 re­cently claimed that her de­vice, which she pur­chased in March, caught fire while it was charg­ing. The user then re­ported the in­ci­dent to Xiaomi, which promised to of­fer a re­fund and an ad­di­tional 600 yuan ($86) in com­pen­sa­tion, the Bei­jing Morn­ing Post re­ported.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, Xiaomi re­quired the user to sign a con­fi­den­tial­ity agree­ment to get the pay­ment. The agree­ment re­quired her not to dis­close any de­tails of the in­ci­dent.

Nicole Peng, re­search di­rec­tor at Canalys, said be­fore the fi­nal re­sults of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent were re­leased, the key is­sue is for the firm to han­dle the in­ci­dent prop­erly, oth­er­wise it will have a neg­a­tive im­pact on the Xiaomi brand.

“Xiaomi should use the most trans­par­ent way to re­veal de­tails of the in­ci­dent and the rea­son why the Redmi smart­phone caught fire.”

Wang Wen­hua, deputy dean of theLawS­chool at Bei­jing For­eign Stud­iesUniver­sity, said the con­fi­den­tial­ity agree­ment was in­valid.

“If the fire was caused by the phone, it is a qual­ity de­fect which poses great risks to con­sumers’ per­sonal safety and prop­erty rights. Then the man­u­fac­turer should bear civil li­a­bil­ity and com­pen­sate the con­sumer ac­cord­ingly.

“Now lots of smart­phone mak­ers are en­hanc­ing the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of smart­phone bat­ter­ies, such as im­prove­ments to bat­tery life, which may cause more safety prob­lems than be­fore,” Wang said.

“This in­ci­dent should serve as a warning. Man­u­fac­tur­ers should not be too keen to up­grade smart­phone bat­ter­ies be­fore rig­or­ous lab tests have taken place, and they should pay more at­ten­tion to the qual­ity of their prod­ucts.”

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