Huawei has taken action against two employees after it was found out that an iPhone was used to send a New Year’s greeting from the company’s official Twitter account. The action taken against the two has led to a pay cut and a demotion, with their monthly take-home pay slashed by 5,000 yuan ($728) for five months. Once pay is restored it will not increase again until at least twelve months have elapsed.
This disciplinary action may run against labor practices in most countries, it appears permissible in China. According to Bloomberg, Huawei executives took great offence to the tweet being sent via a competitor’s product. Huawei corporate senior vice president Chen Lifang wrote in an internal memorandum that the tweet “caused damage to the Huawei brand.”
Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. markets products and services in more than 170 countries and it is the second-largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world, behind Samsung Electronics, having overtaken Apple – manufacturer of the iPhone that was used to send the offending tweet – during the course of 2018.
The incident apparently happened after Huawei experienced virtual private network (VPN) problems with its computers. The VPN enables privileged users in China access to Twitter from inside China. In response, according to The Verge, and with a desire to send out a ‘new year greeting’ to Huawei users, an iPhone fitted with a foreign SIM card was used to send the tweet.