Samsung Galaxy Note 7 owners in Japan have noticed that there is something different with their phones, and it’s not new features or apps.
After close inspection, owners have noticed that the Samsung logo is conspicuously absent from its phone. The result is a surprisingly stylish Galaxy Note 7 that gives it a fresh, unbranded appearance.
While the Western world still retains a Samsung logo on their Note 7’s, Samsung has decided to exclude their logo in their Japanese and Chinese versions of the Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge. This is not the first time for the Samsung that it has chosen to skip highlighting their signature brand on its phones.
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Although Samsung has never said exactly why it has made these decisions with its branding, it could be related to lasting hostile East Asian relations that can be traced back to World War II. The Guardian has described continuing political tensions between South Korea, Samsung’s home country, and Japan that have leaked into their commercial trade relations. This has escalated since Japan elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe into office.
Tensions like this have had an enormous effect on South Korean businesses doing trade in the world’s third-largest economy. Only 5 percent of the 2014 smartphone market in Japan was controlled by Samsung as reported by Counterpoint Research. This is a trend that has continued into 2015 while Apple is still dominating the Japanese smartphone market.