Huawei penalizes staff for sending New Year tweet via iPhone

The Chinese company wished followers a “Happy #2019” in a tweet on New Year's Day marked sent “via Twitter for iPhone

SHENYANG, CHINA - OCTOBER 18: People walk by a Huawei store on October 18, 2018 in Shenyang, Liaoning Province of China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
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Chinese telecom giant Huawei has penalized two employees for posting a New Year greeting on official Twitter account of the company using an iPhone made by arch rival Apple, an internal memo showed.

Huawei displaced Apple last year from its position as the world’s second biggest smartphone seller, below global number one Samsung.

But in a public relations gaffe, the Chinese company wished followers a “Happy #2019” in a tweet on New Year’s Day marked sent “via Twitter for iPhone.”

A screenshot of the post with his three million Twitter followers before Huawei deleted it and sent another, this time marked “sent via Twitter Media Studio” shared by Video producer Marques Brownlee.

One unidentified employee and Huawei‘s director of digital marketing were demoted and had their monthly salary lowered by 5,000 yuan ($730), according to the memo widely shared on China’s Twitter like platform Weibo and seen by AFP.

As well as the pay cut, the digital marketing director was also hit with a salary stoppage and no raises for the next 12 months.

While the blunder was made by a third party social media company called Sapient, the pair were disciplined for the “negative impact” on the Huawei brand caused by the incident, which highlighted ” procedural incompliance and management oversight”, said  by the memo.

In the Thursday dated memo, Huawei‘s corporate senior vice president Chen Lifang said that the gaffe took place when Sapient used an iPhone with a Hong Kong SIM card to send the Twitter greeting after experiencing “VPN problems.”

Twitter and other major foreign sites like Facebook and Google are blocked in China and users need a virtual private network (VPN) connection to circumvent Beijing’s internet controls.

Huawei did not reply to AFP’s request for a comment on the occurrence.

The company has come under fire in 2018 with Washington top efforts to blacklist Huawei internationally.

The capture of its chief financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Canada in initial December on a US extradition request linked to permissions breaking business dealings with Iran has directed to a flow of patriotism in China with companies encouraging staff to buy Huawei smartphones.

Several companies are offering employees subsidies for Huawei phone purchases, while others have even cautioned staff against buying Apple products, AFP found.

In December Huawei said it expects to see a 21 per cent rise in revenue for 2018 despite some of its telecommunications equipment being banned in several countries due to security concerns.