Samsung says the pre-orders for its new flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone have exceeded figures set by its predecessor, the S7.

"It's still a bit early, but initial response to the pre-orders that have begun at various places across the world have been better than expected," Samsung's mobile business chief said at a media briefing.

The S8 would be the safest Galaxy handset to date due to the safety measures put in place to avoid battery issues, he said.

His company plans to use the S8 to recover in China, where Samsung is no longer in the list of top five smartphone vendors due to stiff competition from local rivals such as Huawei, Koh said. Samsung would try to regain its market share in China even if it takes time, he added.

Some investors and analysts believe the S8 could set a first-year sales record for Samsung, Reuters reports.

The handset, available in two models — 5.8in and 6.2in — in terms of screen sizes, has the largest screen to date among all Samsung flagship devices.

The smartphone would go on sale in South Korea, US and Canada on 21 April. The launch is quite significant for Samsung as the company seeks to regain consumers after the Note 7 was banned from the market.

In its native South Korea, pre-orders surpassed 600,000 units in just five days. "Until now, pre-orders for the Galaxy S8 reached 620,000 units, with the 128GB Galaxy S8 Plus accounting for 150,000 units," a Samsung official told the Korean Herald.