Students walk out of a showroom at the headquarters of Samsung Electronics in Seoul. Credit: Reuters/Jo Yong-Hak
South Korean and German police are probing the disappearance of two next-generation Samsung TVs en route to Berlin, the electronics giant said Tuesday, amid suspicions of commercial espionage.
Two organic light-emitting diode (OLED) sets were "lost" during delivery to Berlin for an August 31-September 5 technology trade fair, Samsung Electronics said in a statement.
"Upon Samsung's request, the Korean and German authorities are currently conducting an investigation," it said.
The state-of-the-art televisions have not been officially released in the market.
"Since these TVs are based on such cutting-edge technology owned by only a few firms, we can't rule out the possibility that it was part of a crime aimed to steal it," an informed source told AFP.
Samsung, the world's top TV maker, has promoted OLED as the next-generation technology that will help drive the future of the global television industry.
The firm and its arch rival LG Electronics plan to start selling OLED TVs by the end of 2012, while Japan's Sony and Panasonic have teamed up to jointly develop similar sets.
OLED TVs do not require separate backlights and thus are thinner, consume about 20 percent less power and offer a sharper picture than conventional flat-panel sets.