Sponsored By

Exploding Cell Phone Kills Man In China

A faulty cell phone battery could have caused the explosion, which severed an artery in the man's neck.

Thomas Claburn

February 3, 2009

2 Min Read

A 20-year-old man in an electronics store in Guangzhou, China, died Friday when his cell phone exploded in his shirt pocket.

The force of the explosion severed an artery in the man's neck, according to a report on Hexun.com, a popular Chinese financial portal. The online article quotes witnesses who say there was a large pool of blood on the floor of the store.

A faulty cell phone battery could have caused the explosion, the article suggests, but it offers no information about the brand of battery implicated in the incident.

The article, translated imperfectly from Chinese to English by Google, suggests the man died in a Lenovo store and may have been an employee of the store. But that appears to be inaccurate.

"It's not a Lenovo store per se," said a spokesman for Lenovo in the United States. "It's a store that carries multiple brands. The person who was killed was not a Lenovo employee. And the mobile phone that exploded was not a Lenovo-branded phone."

He said he didn't have any further information other than that the police in China are investigating the incident.

Exploding cell phones aren't unheard of in China. The Hexun article cites seven other such incidents in China since 2002.

Exploding mobile phones also have been reported in other countries. On Nov. 29, for instance, Reuters reported that a South Korean man had been killed by an exploding cell phone.

In October 2004, Kyocera Wireless announced a recall of cell phone batteries sold at various mobile phone supply shops, citing the possibility that some of the batteries could be counterfeit and could pose a burn or fire risk. It said at the time that two minor burn injuries had been reported.

In 2007, Nokia warned that 46 million of its mobile phone batteries, manufactured by Matsushita between December 2005 and November 2006, could overheat.

Among the various cell phone safety tips included in the Hexun article is this: Don't store your phone next to your chest.

This story has been corrected.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like


More Insights