Whether it’s British pornography or US national security, the Chinese technology and telecoms giant Huawei seems to have a knack for getting itself embroiled in politics. Last week the company managed to offend Pakistan with a PR reach-out wishing it happy independence.
As Tech in Asia points out, the map of the country used in its Facebook page graphic omitted part of the disputed Kashmir territory that Pakistan claims, next to the tagline “smart ideas can alter the course of history.” Given that Indian and Pakistani troops have been exchanging fire over the border in recent weeks, the timing could have been better.
Huawei, which swiftly deleted the image, seems to be learning about PR sensitivities the hard way. Google Maps—Huawei’s choice of mapping tool—is extremely careful to account for border disputes, tailoring its services to each country’s audience and indicating how careful global tech companies have to be when dealing with political sensitivities. Google Maps India, for instance, clearly shows the Kashmir territory as part of India, whereas the global “.com” mapping service does not. China’s version includes the country’s controversial 10-dash line claiming territory in the South China Sea.
Huawei is pushing aggressively for market share in Pakistan and has just agreed to lay a fibre-optic cable to connect the country to China, a project worth $44 million.