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Huawei disciplines marketing execs for Publicis.Sapient's iPhone error

The tweet was quickly deleted and replaced with another sent out from Twitter Media Studio.

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has disciplined two of its employees, one of whom is its digital marketing director, for a tweet sent out by its agency Publicis.Sapient through an Apple iPhone on its official and verified Twitter account.

The tweet in question was sent out on New’s Year Eve by the consultancy practice, wishing Huawei’s followers a happy 2019. However, eagle-eyed Twitter users noticed the tweet was sent out by an iPhone as the tweet was labelled ‘Twitter for iPhone’.

The tweet was quickly deleted and replaced with another sent out from Twitter Media Studio, a Twitter client for brands, but it was too late as the tweet had already gone viral on Weibo.

According to Reuters, an internal memo sent out by Huawei senior vice president Chen Lifang explained the error occurred when a Sapient employee experienced ‘VPN problems’ with a desktop computer, so used an iPhone with a roaming SIM card in order to send the message on time at midnight on December 31, 2018.

Twitter, like Facebook and Google, is blocked in China, which means users must use a virtual private network (VPN) to circumvent the firewall.

Labelling the error as having “caused damage to the Huawei brand”, Chen went on to say the company has reduced the pay of the digital marketing director and another employee by 5,000 yuan (US $730), as well as freezing their income for a year.

A report by research agency MobData in November 2018 found Chinese Apple iPhone users are less educated and make less money than Huawei users.

Huawei is still the market leader in China and accounts for a combined share of nearly 80% of the market together with Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, while Apple holds just 9%.

The Drum has reached out to Publicis.Sapient for its comments on the matter.

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