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Chinese company Huawei faces netizen firing squad for listing Taiwan as a country

Chinese technology company Huawei Technologies is the latest brand to cop flak from Chinese netizens, in what seems like a witch hunt on companies that do not adhere to the One China policy. According to multiple posts on Weibo, the Chinese smartphone maker had allegedly listed “Taipei (Taiwan)” when the default language on Huawei’s phones were set to traditional Chinese.

On the other hand, when the default language is set to simplified Chinese, the smartphone lists “Taipei (China)” instead. Traditional Chinese is used in Taiwan and Hong Kong while simplified Chinese is used in mainland China. Incensed netizens took to Weibo to voice their rage, demanding an explanation and an apology from Huawei. Some even used the hashtag #华为滚出中国 (#HuaweigetoutofChina) in their posts, and the hashtag has been viewed more than 390,000 times on Weibo.

Huawei declined to comment on Marketing‘s queries when asked about the issue. The Chinese smartphone company joins the list of brands including Samsung, Coach, Givenchy and Versace which have come under scrutiny over the One China policy. The four companies all saw their Chinese brand ambassadors severe ties after listing Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau as separately territories instead of being part of China.

Separately, Huawei recently launched a microsite explaining that the company is wholly-owned by its employees, debunking rumours that it is being owned by the Chinese government. The microsite added that Huawei follows a collective leadership model and “its fate is not tied to any single individual”. Closer to home, Huawei also angered consumers in Singapore when its recent National Day promotion went awry.

[Along with bringing back PR Asia in Singapore this year on 13-14 November, Marketing and A+M is proud to launch PR Asia in Malaysia for the first time on 20th November. Join us for a series of exclusive case studies, interactive and thought-provoking discussions and discover the latest strategies, insights and groundbreaking ideas to elevate your PR practice]

(Photo courtesy: 123RF)

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