At the end of a troubling year globally, the Chinese phone maker Huawei would have hoped for an uncontroversial start to the New Year.
While the last quarter of 2018 proved to be complicated for Huawei Technologies due to diplomatic conflicts, the company’s start to 2019 turned out to be embarrassing too, but for reasons that were less serious.
In a bid to greet followers of the brand on Twitter on the New Year’s Eve, two employees of Huawei Technologies sent out wishes in a tweet.
While the employees responsible for the smartphone maker’s official Twitter account managed to keep it simple, by posting a two-word message that read, “Happy #2019,” a glaring goof-up incited a world of horror for the brand.
The message was preceded by a usual marker, which indicated that the tweet was sent “via Twitter for iPhone.”
The world of Twitter came together to complain, rejoice, joke and taunt the Chinese company for the major blunder and the company laid low for two days, without reacting publicly except for quickly taking down the tweet.
Yet, screenshots of the tweet went viral across social media, with several people commenting on the embarrassing post on the popular Chinese social media site, Weibo too.
On Friday, reports revealed that the Corporate Senior Vice President and Director of the Board Chen Lifang had taken action against the two employees responsible for the blunder.
On January 3, Lifang reportedly sent out an internal memo to Huawei employees, details of which were revealed on Friday.
The Director of the Huawei board wrote in the memo that “the incident caused damage to the Huawei brand.”
In the memo, the company revealed that the mistake occurred when outsourced social media handler Sapient experienced “VPN problems” with a desktop computer.
Sapient is said to have decided to use an iPhone with a roaming SIM card in order to send the message on time at midnight.
A virtual private network (VPN) connection is necessary for users to circumvent the firewall in China and access Twitter, which is blocked in the country, like many other foreign services including Facebook and Alphabet.
According to Huawei, the blunder showed procedural noncompliance and management oversight.
The memo further revealed that the company had demoted the two employees responsible by one rank.
Further, the Huawei board had decided to reduce the monthly salaries of the two employees by 5,000 yuan ($728.27).
The phone maker said in its memo that the pay rank of Huawei’s Digital Marketing Director, who was one of the employees responsible for the blunder, would be frozen for 12 months.
The blunder by the company comes at a time when the government has implemented measures to steer citizens towards choosing Huawei products over Apple.
Last year, Huawei overtook Apple as the worlds second-largest smartphone vendor by volume, making it second only to Samsung.
Huawei’s P-series handsets are in direct competition with Apples iPhone.
The online blunder also comes immediately after the company faced troubles after the company’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada.