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Huawei cuts pay and demotes employees responsible for New Year tweet fiasco

Huawei New Year

On 1st January, Huawei had started 2019 on the wrong foot as they tweeted their new year greeting with a competing smartphone. YouTuber, MKBHD had spotted the tweet which carried the label “Twitter for iPhone”.

Obviously, this had caused unnecessary embarrassment to the brand especially when Apple is one of Huawei’s biggest rival. Now it appears that the Chinese smartphone maker is not taking this lightly and have taken serious action against those responsible based on a leaked memo that was shared to Reuters.

According to the internal memo, the corporate Senior Vice President and Director of the board, Chen LiFang, had described the incident as damaging to the Huawei brand. It was revealed that their social media activities were outsourced to Sapient, but the person that was managing the account had problems with VPN on the desktop computer.

VPN is necessary for China since most international social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are barred in the country. In order to send the greeting message on time, the tweet was sent from a personal iPhone with a roaming SIM.

The memo also added that the situation had demonstrated procedural incompliance and management oversight. As a result, two Huawei employees that are responsible for the blunder were demoted by one rank and their salaries reduced by 5,000CNY (about RM3,000). One of them is the Digital Marketing Director and the person will have to endure a pay freeze for 12 months.

This embarrassing situation could have been avoided if they used the right social media tools. Huawei isn’t the only brand that has made such a mistake. Samsung has done it before and even Apple was caught tweeting from an Android device for its music streaming service.

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Alexander Wong