Fri, Aug 17, 2007 - Page 12 News List

No estimates yet on extent of battery recall: Nokia

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Nokia Oyj's Taiwan branch said yesterday it had no tallies yet on the number of Taiwanese users affected by the company's offer to replace 46 million cellphone batteries in what could be the world's largest consumer electronics recall.

"The replacement is a protective measure offered to our customers," Jane Hsu (許德箴), Nokia Taiwan communications manager, said by telephone yesterday.

Hsu was responding to a report in the Chinese-language Commercial Times yesterday saying the recall would affect approximately 300,000 units in Taiwan.

Citing domestic retail channel sources, the newspaper said that the figure was based on sales of 2 million Nokia handsets last year.

Hsu said that to facilitate the battery recall procedure, a Chinese-language Web site will be set up within the week, adding that users could also call a service hotline -- 02-3234 9700 -- for assistance.

Nokia said on Tuesday that it would replace cellphone batteries made by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co because of overheating problems.

The world's biggest cellphone maker said there had been about 100 reported cases of overheating globally, but not reports of serious injury or damage to property.

The affected Nokia-branded BL-5C batteries were made by Matsushita between December 2005 and November last year at its production facilities in Zhuhai, China.

The BL-5C batteries are used in 52 models of Nokia, with more than 20 of them sold in Taiwan, the Finnish company said.

Nokia is the No. 1 mobile-phone brand in the country, with a market share of more than 32 percent.

The affected handsets are mostly earlier models -- 3125, 2112, 1108, 7610, E60, 1100, 6230, 2610 -- as well as more recent ones -- N70, N91 and 2626.

The announcement has raised concern among local users.

"I am slightly worried about the battery safety issue, not to mention recent TV news reports of cases of portable PC batteries overheating," said Chen Yi-hsi (陳怡希), who uses a Sony-Ericsson handset.

The 30-year-old merchandise procurer said the incident reminded her of the importance of purchasing original batteries, as well as paying heed to where it was manufactured.

"I will hesitate in buying products carrying the `China-made' label," she said.

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