SOUTH KOREA SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 7.jpg
A salesman shows the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 at a store in Seoul, South Korea, 11 October 2016.
Photograph: EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN

Samsung on Tuesday suspended global sales of its Galaxy Note7 smartphone with immediate effect and advised users to power the devices down and hand them in, after numerous reports of the phones catching fire.

"Because consumers' safety remains our top priority, Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note7 while the investigation is taking place," the South Korean tech giant said in a statement.

"Consumers with either an original Galaxy Note7 or replacement Galaxy Note7 device should power down and stop using the device and take advantage of the remedies available," it continued.

The step caused Samsung shares to dip by 5 per cent in morning trading in Seoul on Tuesday.

On Monday the company said it had changed its production plan for the Galaxy Note7, but US and Korean media claimed that the company had halted production on the phone completely, citing unnamed sources.

Samsung started selling the smartphone on August 19, but announced a global recall of 2.5 million units in September following reports that some of the devices had caught fire.

However, there were soon reports that replacement phones had also burst into flames or started smoking, including one which began emitting smoke on a US domestic flight last week, forcing the evacuation of a passenger plane.

The company updated the recall on its US website on Tuesday, saying consumers could now swap the phone for a different model or get a full refund.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has said that the size of the phone's lithium-ion batteries could be to blame for them catching fire.

It says that they are too big for the phone, which means faulty installation could lead to a short circuit.

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Samsung ends production of flagship Note 7 smartphone

Samsung third-quarter earnings drop after Note7 woes

US bans Samsung Galaxy Note7 phones from flights

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