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New Kind Of ‘Pengci’? Chinese Users Cook Samsung Galaxy Note 7 To Make Battery Explode

After first reports of a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 battery exploding in China, explosions are no purposely caused for compensation – a new kind of ‘pengci’?

Manya Koetse



After first reports of a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 battery exploding in China, Samsung stated that its investigation found no battery problem in the People’s Republic. South Korean media now report that the explosions were purposely caused for compensation. Is deliberately blowing up your smartphone a new kind of ‘pengci’?

Pengci (碰瓷) is a widespread fraud in China that involves deliberately crashing cars and then wanting compensation. Something similarly seems to be happening with the incidents of exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 batteries in China.

A day after Chinese media reported about exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (三星盖乐世Note7) batteries in China, the official Samsung China released a statement through its Weibo account that for at least one of these cases, the fire was caused by heating outside of the phone.


The statement comes after two Chinese Samsung Note 7 users reported their phones exploded over the weekend. The report of these cases in China indicated another setback for Samsung, that was already struggling to restore consumer trust after dozens of reports in other countries of overheating or exploding batteries.

One case that was widely reported by Chinese media on September 18 was brought to light by a 23-year-old netizen who posted pictures of his coral blue note 7 after it allegedly exploded.




The topic “Samsung Note 7 Battery Explosions” (#三星Note7电池爆炸#) became trending on Weibo. By September 19, it had received over 2.1 million views.

“Cooking the Samsung for 2-3 Minutes”

Many netizens are unsure what Samsung actually meant with its statement that the fire was caused by “external” components: “Is Samsung saying that Chinese Samsung users are cooking their phones until they explode?” one netizen wondered.

Another person also commented: “Do you think Chinese people even put their phones in the oven?”

On September 20, South Korean media reported that the Chinese users were indeed deliberately setting off their phones to demand compensation. The incidents occurred after Samsung globally recalled its Galaxy Note 7 over battery fears in early September. After the premium smartphone had been on sale for only two weeks, already 35 faulty phone batteries were reported. The explosions were found to be caused by a battery cell issue.

Samsung assured Chinese customers that they did not need to worry about the global recall since Samsung China uses batteries from a different supplier – which is why the Galaxy Note 7 recall would not affect customers in the People’s Republic (PRC).


After testing the Chinese phones that allegedly exploded, Samsung found they were intentionally heated. According to media reports, similar effects to what is shown on the pictures of the Chinese netizens can be reached after putting the Samsung on an electric cooking plate for 2-3 minutes at 200 degrees. Similar effects can occur when putting the Samsung in the oven or microwave.


A New Kind of Pengci?

The intentional cooking of Samsung smartphones is similar to the phenomenon of ‘pengci’. Pengci (碰瓷,literally: knocking over porcelain) is a type of widespread fraud in China where people deliberately crash against cars and then demand compensation, as can also be seen in the gif below.

Pengci is very common in the PRC, with some extreme cases making headlines occasionally. Earlier this year, Shanghaiist reported an incident where an elderly woman was ‘hit’ by a toy Mercedes car after which she asked for medical help and allegedly wanted to be compensated.


Some people are willing to put themselves at serious risk in hopes of getting compensation. Cooking one’s smartphone belongs in the same category as it can cause an explosion that could potentially danger people around it.

Although the battery explosions in China are found to be intentionally caused, Samsung is already suffering from the widespread fear for phone combustion. Some netizens posted pictures showing specific warning signs at the airport that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 could not be used on board of the airplane.


The topic also triggered many jokes on Chinese social media. One Weibo user posted this picture of a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone advertisement right next to a fire extinguisher.


– By Manya Koetse

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at


Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at, or follow on Twitter.

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China Digital

“Taobao Life”: This Feature Shows How Much Money You’ve Spent on Taobao

Some users just found out they could’ve bought a house with the money they’ve spent on Taobao.

Manya Koetse



Over the past few days, a new Taobao feature that allows users to see how much money they have spent on the online shopping platform is flooding Chinese social media.

Taobao Marketplace is China’s biggest online shopping platform. Owned by tech giant Alibaba, Taobao was launched in 2003 to facilitate consumer-to-consumer retail.

For many people, Taobao shopping has become part of their everyday life. Whether it is clothes, pet food, accessories, electronics, furniture – you name it, Taobao has it.

Because buying on Taobao is so easy, fast, and convenient, many online consumers lose track of how much they actually spent on the platform – especially if they have been using it for years already.

Thanks to “Taobao Life,” users can now see the total amount of money spent on their account.

How to do it? First: go to Taobao settings and click the profile account as indicated below.

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Then click the top icon that says “Achievement” (成就).

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And here you find what you have spent in this account in total. On the left: the money spent, on the right: the amount of purchases.

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Since I’ve used started using this Taobao account for the occasional clothes shopping since 2016, I’ve made 122 purchases, spending 7849 yuan ($1140) – a very reasonable amount compared to some other Taobao users, who are now finding out they could have practically bought an apartment with the money they have spent on Taobao.

This user, for example, found out they spent over half a million yuan on Taobao ($75,500).

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This user below has spent over 1,1 million yuan on Taobao ($170,000).

Some people discuss all the things they could have bought with the money they have spent on Taobao over the years: “As soon as I saw the number, I wanted to cry,” one Weibo user writes: “What have I done?!”

Another person, finding out they have spent 230,000 yuan on Taobao ($33,400), writes: “This can’t be true! Surely this must be a mistake!?”

“If I wouldn’t have spent all this money on Taobao, I would’ve been rich,” others say.

The topic of Taobao’s total spending amount has become so popular on Chinese social media this week, causing so much consternation, that Taobao posted a message on its Weibo account on July 27, writing: “We heard you guys couldn’t sleep last night..”

Although many people are shocked to find out the money they’ve spent on Taobao, others console themselves with the thought that adding up everything they have spent on Taobao, they were actually ‘rich’ at some point in their lives.


By Manya Koetse , with contributions from Miranda Barnes

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at

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China Digital

Summer Censorship: Weibo Launches “Project Sky Blue”

No hot summer on Weibo: the social media network announces extra censorship on ‘vulgar content.’




Earlier this week, the administration of Sina Weibo announced a special summer holiday crackdown on “vulgar content,” including “pornographic novels, erotic anime, pictures or videos.”

In a public announcement that was posted on July 4th, the Weibo administration writes that the primary goal of this campaign is to “create a healthier, more positive environment for underage users” during the summer break period.

The censorship plan is titled “Project Deep Blue” (or: “Project Sky Blue”) (蔚蓝计划), and will use filter systems, human moderators and user reports to censor more content for the upcoming two months.

The project even has its own Weibo account now, where Weibo users can ask questions, report inappropriate content, and get more information on the campaign.

Weibo states it will further expand its team of online content supervisors, and also explicitly encourages netizens to flag ‘inappropriate’ content to make the online community ‘more wholesome.’

The hashtag #ProjectDeepBlue (#蔚蓝计划#) topped the hot search lists on Weibo this week; not necessarily because of the topic’s popularity, but because it was placed there by the social media site’s administration. At time of writing, the hashtag page has attracted more than 180 million views.

Online responses to the summer censorship program are mixed: many commenters voice their support for the latest measure, while others express frustration.

One Weibo user from Hubei calls the latest measure “hypocritical,” arguing that minors surf Weibo just as much during school time as during the summer holiday – suggesting that launching a special censorship program for the summer vacation does not make sense at all.

But many popular comments are in favor of the project, saying: “I support Project Deep Blue, the internet needs to be cleaned up,” and: “China’s young people need to be protected.”

This is not the first time Weibo launches a special intensified censorship program. Throughout the years, it has repeatedly carried out ‘anti-pornography‘ campaigns in cooperation with Chinese cyberspace authorities.

Often, the crusade against ‘vulgar’ content also ends up being used for the purpose of censoring political content rather than to actually eradicate ‘obscenities’ (read more).

By now, it seems that many Weibo users are quite actively using the Project Deep Blue tag to report on other users who are posting violent or vulgar content.

“If you’re not careful, you’re hit with vulgar and obscene content the moment you’re on the internet,” well-known mom blogger Humapanpan (@虎妈潘潘) writes: “Now that the summer holiday is coming, I hope we can join the Project Deep Blue, and clean up the internet environment.  Actively report obscene content the moment you see it – let’s protect our future together.”

By Skylar Xu & Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at

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