Huawei targeted for implying Taiwan is not part of China

By Wei Sheng
1 min read
Posts with the hashtag #HuaweiGetoutofChina on Weibo (Image credit: TechNode)

Huawei has become the latest brand to face public outcry in China after internet users spotted that the Chinese handset giant listed Taiwan as a separate country on its phones.

Why it matters: Several global brands have issued apologies in recent days after Chinese netizens launched campaigns against them for implying that Taiwan and Hong Kong are not part of China on their websites or products.

  • These brands include Italian luxury fashion company Versace, as well as US marques Calvin Klein and Coach.
  • Huawei handsets have become the “patriotic choice” for Chinese consumers since the Shenzhen-based company was put on a trade blacklist by the US government in May.

Details: China’s online community found that Taiwan is listed as a country, rather than part of China, in the time zone settings on Huawei phones when the user interface is in traditional Chinese language, commonly used in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

  • Internet users launched a campaign on China’s Twitter-like social media site Weibo with the hashtag #HuaweiGetoutofChina, calling on Huawei to apologize.
  • The hashtag has drawn over 300 posts associated with it and received more than 300,000 views.
  • Huawei didn’t respond to requests for comment at the time of publishing.

Context: Online outrage against companies perceived as not supporting the one-China policy emerged as demonstrations in Hong Kong continue.

  • “Especially during the ‘sensitive period’ when ‘pro-Hong Kong independence activists’ are creating trouble, this kind of mistake is even more serious,” People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s Communist Party, said in an editorial on Monday.