In a flipped version of many brand mishaps regarding the discussion of geography in reference to China, Taiwan has blocked the sale of three Huawei smartphone models.
The National Communications Commission (NCC) announced on Thursday that the P30, P30 Pro, and the Nova 5T would be banned in Taiwan unless changes to their operating systems were made.
According to a report by AFP, timezone and contacts settings on the phones in question listed Taiwan as â€śTaiwan, Chinaâ€ť.
The statement also made clear that the ban on these Huawei phones would become permanent if these location details were not changed.
It is unsurprising that this label would draw heat as the islandâ€™s relationship to mainland China is complicated, to say the least. Furthermore, Taiwanâ€™s president, Tsai Ing-wen has bolstered national identity for Taiwanese, as calls to declare Taiwan as an independent country from China have gained increased support.
This decision is also likely a simple matter of tit for tat. In recent years China has made a point of throwing its weight around when it comes to any perceived questioning of its claimed territory. This has led to several brands facing a national shunning, effectively locked out of the marketâ€™s sales platforms when not seen to be toeing the line and â€śhurting the feelingsâ€ť of the Chinese people. These have regularly included cases where Taiwan was listed as its own state, such as by luxury brand Coach. Therefore, It is highly probable that this ban is a case of Taiwan flexing and giving China a taste of its own medicine.
However, unlike the case for many Western brands who will do almost anything to remain in China, it is debatable if Huawei – a company with alleged close ties to the Chinese Communist Party – would budge in the slightest for three phone models in Taiwan, when national pride and the state narrative of territorial ownership is on the line.