Huawei employees who allowed their company to tweet New Year's wishes from an iPhone are now in trouble.
An employee is demoted and has their salary anchored, while the other is being transferred to promotion this year, the Chinese telecommunications company said in an internal document Thursday.
Twitter users noticed on New Year's Eve that Huawei's official account had tweeted New Year's wishes marked "via Twitter for iPhone." Tweets were soon deleted, but screens were widely circulated online in China and abroad.
Apple's iPhone has been the target of patriotic displays since Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada last year.
The circulation of the screens has "negatively affected the brand's Huawei smart phone reputation," the company said.
Huawei explained that a marketing company called Sapient Corporation was responsible for the Huawei Twitter account. Due to some "VPN connection issues", the team could not tweet the wishes using a computer. To publish the tweet in time for the new year, Sapient's team put a Hong Kong SIM card into an iPhone and posted the tweet without checking how the published tweet would look, Huawei said. Huawei did not reveal where the Sapient team was located.
China's Internet management policy means some foreign websites, including Twitter, Google and Facebook cannot be reached on the Chinese mainland without a virtual private network (VPN) or a mainland SIM card.
Sapient will be held accountable, Huawei said. The two Huawei employees are from the PR department and are penalized for "bad vendor management" in connection with tweets, the company says without specifying the role of the employees in the incident.