Huawei Backlash: Two Employees Punished For New Year’s iPhone Tweet

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Two Huawei employees are reportedly starting the new year off with smaller paychecks after they were found to be responsible for a celebratory tweet issued with, horror of Western horrors, an iPhone.

Reports say the firm has demoted two employees and reduced their monthly salaries by almost 730 dollars for "causing damage to the Huawei brand". The tweet, posted on New Year's Day, wished followers a "Happy #2019" while displaying "via Twitter for iPhone".

The South China Morning Post picked up on an internal memo circulated widely on Chinese media detailing how the flub came to be and the punishments for the employees.

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The vice president said in an internal memo that the tweet has "caused damage to the Huawei brand". Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested recently in Canada for allegedly violating US trade sanctions against Iran. The replies to the reposted tweet filled with users posting their screenshots of the "Twitter from iPhone" version. Meanwhile Huawei's main competitor is other Android manufacturers.

"The traitor has revealed himself", quipped one user on microblog Weibo, in a comment "liked" over 600 times. VPN's are necessary for companies to access some websites in China, where internet usage is heavily regulated. Social Media-employees need to handle a so-called "Virtual Private Network" (VPN) to the lock.

According to Reuters, Huawei isn't just blaming the third-party and is instead blaming the people who made a decision to use them, saying that the mistake showed "procedural incompliance and management oversight". This included the head of Huawei's digital marketing team, whose pay will also be frozen for 12 months, according to Reuters.

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Last year, Huawei overtook Apple in the number of handsets shipped worldwide, making it second only to Samsung.

Both Huawei and Sapient did not immediately respond to comment after the incident. Calls to its Beijing office went unanswered. As the tweet couldn't be sent via a desktop system, someone used an iPhone as a workaround. He later said his actions were not hypocritical as foreign brands should not be discriminated against.

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