Chinese firm bans iPhone users from promotion following Huawei executive’s detention

By Li Xuanmin and Shen Weiduo Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/25 18:03:31

A Chinese textile company has released a notice banning staff who use iPhones from possible promotions and providing subsidies to those who buy Huawei devices.

Industry insiders said the case sheds light on how the detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada has triggered widespread boycotts of US products and raised support for domestic brands among Chinese consumers.

"So far, all members of the management team have changed their smartphones to Huawei models to show support for homegrown brands," a manager of Zhejiang Kangjiesi New Material Technology Co, based in Zhuji, East China's Zhejiang Province, surnamed Liu told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The manager said that the company is not forcing staff to stop using iPhones and shifting to Huawei is based on voluntary decisions. "But we would like to give those who use China-made products priority in getting promotions," Liu said.

So far, the company has ordered Huawei products worth 20,000 yuan ($2,908) for its management teams and other investors, according to Liu.

According to the notice, which was released in early December - soon after Meng's arrest ignited anger among the Chinese public - company executives who buy Huawei products will receive subsidies that are about 50 percent of the handset's invoice price.

Managerial-level employees who abandon Apple products and move to Huawei devices will get subsidies of 25 percent of the invoice price.

Regular company employees who buy Huawei products will receive about 20 percent of the invoice price, according to the notice.

An employee of Kangjiesi, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Global Times on Tuesday that about half of the company's 150 employees had shifted their smartphones to Huawei models.

"It's not only the management teams. Employees including me are very supportive of the new incentive plan [in the wake of Meng's case]," she said.

"A lot of our colleagues used iPhones before, but I know many of them have bought new smartphones from Huawei," she added.

Liu, the manager, said he may also offer more incentives to encourage employees to buy more Chinese products instead of those from Western companies.

Mei Xinyu, an expert close to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the company is a private firm, which means it has the freedom to announce such plans.

But the company's move is an individual case and it does not represent all Chinese consumers' choices, said Dong Yan, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of World Economics and Politics.

"Most Chinese are still reacting to the lingering China-US tensions in a reserved manner. They are likely to select products based on various factors such as cost and functionality, and avoid making US products a victim of the bilateral conflict," Dong told the Global Times.

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