A growing number of former Apple devotees in China have started switching from iPhones to domestic Huawei smartphones as trade and technology tensions escalate between Washington and Beijing.
The South China Morning Post reported that consumers were spurred by a rising “nationalist sentiment” to support the Chinese tech giant which has been blacklisted by the US.
According to the newspaper, “nationalist rhetoric of ‘switch to Huawei’ has gained increasing traction as trade tensions escalate.”
Social media campaigns have been urging citizens to support Huawei at Apple’s expense in response to US-China trade disputes, it said.
Some long-time Apple users in China have started framing Huawei purchases as acts of patriotism.
“There is a calling from my heart that I need to show support for Chinese brands, especially in the trade war climate,” said Wang Zhixin, a manager at one of China’s largest solar module manufacturers. Earlier this month Wang retired his three-year-old iPhone 7 and got a Huawei P30.
He explained that Huawei was not entirely chosen out of sympathy. “The company has a reputation for better quality at a cheaper price… [The P30] is faster and can take better pictures.”
Another former Apple fan, Sam Li, who works at a state-owned telecom company in Beijing, said that “It’s kind of embarrassing to pull an iPhone out of your pocket nowadays when all the company executives use Huawei.”