Chinese mobile giant Huawei Technologies.Co is punishing its staffs after a New Year greetings mishap. As shown in an internal memo on Thursday (Jan 3), two workers are deemed responsible for posting on the smartphone maker’s official Twitter account on New Year’s Eve using an iPhone.
Huawei, whose P-series handsets is on tight rivalry with Apple’s iPhone, on New Year’s Day wished followers a “Happy #2019” in a tweet marked sent “via Twitter for iPhone”. The tweet was quickly removed but screenshots of the blunder has spread across social media, Reuters reports.
Commenting on the incident, corporate senior vice-president and director of the board Chen Lifang said, “The incident caused damage to the Huawei brand”.
In the memo, Huawei is said that the mistake occurred when outsourced social media handler Sapient experienced “VPN problems” with a desktop computer, so he decided to use an iPhone with a roaming SIM card in order to send the message on time at midnight.
Twitter, like several foreign services such as those from Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc, is blocked in China, where the Internet is heavily censored. To gain access, users need a virtual private network (VPN) connection.
The blunder has showed procedural incompliance and management oversight, Huawei further said. Because of the incident, the company had demoted two employees responsible by one rank and reduced their monthly salaries by 5,000 yuan ($728.27). The pay rank of one of the employees who holds position as the company’s digital marketing director will also be frozen for 12 months, it said.
It is not the first time use of the Apple product has given cause for embarrassment for the company. Last year, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of nationalistic tabloid Global Times, was mocked online after he used his iPhone when expressing support for Huawei and domestic peer ZTE Corp. He later said his actions were not hypocritical as foreign brands should not be discriminated against.