“Reputation is only a candle of wavering and uncertain flame, and easily blown out, but it is the light by which the world looks for and finds merit,” – so said James Russel Lowell. Huawei as at the end of 2018 was sitting in a pretty comfortable position with regards to global OEMs rankings. It recently overtook Apple, to become the second best smartphone seller, coming second only to Samsung.
Overtaking Apple in global ranking was not a mean feat by any measure for Huawei. It was, in fact, a landmark achievement, and the company should relish in it for as long and as much as it can. But get this, over the New Year’s Eve, someone at Huawei took it upon themselves to promote the Apple brand, right within Huawei’s ecosystem.
Over the new year, someone sent New Year greetings on Twitter, and the message was marked sent ‘via Twitter for iPhone.’ Though the tweet was quickly deleted, you can always trust the internet’s netizens to never allow you to forget your blunder. The tweet was up for a short time, but many netizens took a screenshot of it and shared wildly.
In an internal memo at Huawei dated Jan 3rd, Reuters reports that the company’s senior vice-president and director of the board, Chen Lifang, said, “the incident caused damage to the Huawei brand.”
Not only did the incident caused damage to the Huawei brand, but also it went out of its way to help its competitor (Apple) right within the company’s ecosystem. So the company’s management has taken steps to punish two of its employees responsible for the mishap.
The mishap happened when the company outsourced its social media management to Sapient, who in this occasion experience a VPN malfunction on their desktop computer. So an employee wishing not to miss the deadline for the tweet, that is 12 AM on New Year’s Eve took their iPhone and send out the tweet.
As you might already know Facebook and Twitter among other social media accounts are banned in China. To access these social media platforms among other websites, users must have a VPN. Since Sapient’s VPN on their desktop computer was not functioning well on this particular occasion, an employee decided to use his or her smartphone to send out the tweet.
Too bad the smartphone used was an iPhone, the arch-rival of Huawei. So much for the gains, the company has made by overtaking Apple to become the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor by volume in the period between January and September 2018.
The Huawei Punishment
Huawei’ internal memo (as by the insiders’ accounts) has said the procedural incompliance and management oversight necessitated that two of the concerned employees be demoted each by one rank. Their salaries are also to be reduced by 5,000 yuan, ($728.27). However, one of the employees will also get their paycheque frozen for an entire year.