Huawei reportedly demotes two employees for iPhone tweet
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.
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.
In order to maintain a presence on Twitter, a social platform that is censored by China’s so-called “Great Firewall,” the public relations team need to use a VPN. However, team members were reportedly not prepared to send the tweet out in time through a computer, so they resorted to using an iPhone which had a SIM from a Hong Kong-based carrier — the Special Administrative Region is outside the influence of the firewall.
Chen Lifang, Huawei’s president of public affairs and communications department, wrote in the memo that “incomplete management, irresponsibility of certain employees, and insufficient supervious over suppliers” led to the tweet, which spread quickly after YouTuber Marques Brownlee posted an image of the message which was tagged as coming from “Twitter for iOS.”
The team eventually deleted the tweet and sent a new one from a masked Twitter client nearly four hours later. Huawei has not commented on the memo’s authenticity.
The two employees in question were demoted one rank and have taken a ¥5,000 or $727 pay cut.
Huawei has reportedly started discouraging iPhone ownership within the company as have other companies in the country. It continues to be embroiled in international political drama: CFO, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada last month and could be extradited to the United States to face charges related to sanction breaches and fraud. China, in turn, has since arrested more than a dozen Canadian nationals.