Chinese telecom giant Huawei has demoted two employees for posting a New Year greeting on the company ’ s official Twitter account using an iPhone made by arch -rival Apple , an internal memo showed.
Huawei dislodged 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 ” .
Video producer Marques Brownlee shared 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 ” .
One unnamed employee and Huawei ’ s director of digital marketing were demoted and had their monthly salary slashed 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 freeze and no promotions for the next 12 months .
Although 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 in compliance and management oversight” , the memo said .
In the memo dated Thursday , Huawei ’ s corporate senior vice president Chen Lifang said 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 incident .
The company has come under fire in 2018 , with Washington leading efforts to blacklist Huawei internationally .
The arrest of its chief financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Canada in early December — on a US extradition request linked to sanctions – breaking business dealings with Iran — has led to a surge 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 warned staff against buying Apple products , AFP found .
Huawei in December 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 .
( AFP )
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