Huawei’s Retaliation: Massive Apple Boycott Sweeps China Amid U.S. Disputes

Iphone Xs China Ban Credit: Issei Kato / Reuters
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Tech-industry juggernauts Apple, Samsung and Huawei each have their own unique and strategic (yet often hilarious) way of taunting one another’s flagship devices. But amid recent events like the uncertain state of U.S. China Trade relations and arrest of the firm’s Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, the riff between China’s Huawei Technologies Co. and U.S.-based Apple, Inc. has escalated far beyond their typical friendly-fire.

Some 20+ Chinese firms have already urged their employees to boycott Apple products and, in retaliation, encourage them to buy from Huawei instead.

Most firms partaking of these anti-Apple boycotts are reportedly offering their employees up to a 20 percent subsidy off of the cost of a new Huawei smartphone — though some are giving new devices free of charge, too, according to Nikkei Asian Review. In addition to promoting the purchase of Huawei smartphones, nearly all of these nationally-known Chinese firms have announced plans to increase their purchases of other Huawei products including business management solutions and equipment.

A Tag-Team Takedown

According to Nikkei, several other Chinese firms not directly participating in the Apple products boycott have instead offered-up “pro-Huawei” incentives for their customers. A local brewer cited in Nikkei’s report is, for instance, offering both its employees and customers who present a Huawei products purchase receipt with free alcohol worth up-to 30 percent of their new device’s retail cost.

What’s interesting to see most of all, though, is that while most of these big Chinese companies are merely trying to support Huawei with open arms, some have become more hap-hazard in their attempts to shun and discourage the use of Apple products. 

The report cites, for example, a Shenzhen-based machinery producer who’s allegedly threatened his employees with confiscation of their Apple devices, or the very real possibility of pink slips going out to those who fail to hand them over if caught.

What on Earth Is Happening?

While these tactics may seem brash and unnecessary, it’s important to understand the context in which they’re taking place:

The overwhelming support for Huawei and apparent backlash against Apple, a U.S. company, comes on the heels of the highly-publicized arrest of Wanzhou — Huawei ’s darling heiress and CFO, who was apprehended on December 1 while switching flights in Vancouver, B.C., at the request of the U.S. government. 

She now faces possible extradition to the U.S. amid sweeping accusations that she and her father’s company violated U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran.

Not only that, but U.S. officials and their Chinese counterparts are presently in the throes of working out a major trade dispute, which has so far resulted in tariffs on billions of dollars in U.S. and Chinese goods, respectively — with the Trump Administration threatening further tariffs on some $200 billion more, including iPhones, if these ongoing talks are unfruitful.

Tensions between the U.S. government and Huawei, specifically, have also boiled over in recent months, with the Department of Defense (DoD) back in August moving to ban the sale of Huawei
and ZTE smartphones over privacy and spyware concerns.

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