Huawei phone users in China get free entry to tourist park as companies line up to support smartphone giant

  • Offer causes controversy with some social media users who ask if nationalism has been taken too far
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 4:31pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 5:29pm

Chinese companies are showing their support to Huawei in response to the recent arrest in Canada of the smartphone giant’s finance chief Sabrina Meng Wanzhou.

From this week until December 29, visitors to the Shennong Mountain Scenic Park in the central province of Henan can get a waiver on the 65 yuan (US$9.40) entrance fee if they have a Huawei phone.

Notice of the offer, which has caused controversy among the Chinese public, was published on the park’s official WeChat account last Saturday.

It is the latest in a series of high-profile declarations of support for Huawei since chief financial officer Meng was arrested in Canada on December 1 at the request of US authorities.

According to the notice, tourists can show their Huawei or Honor phones at the door, follow the park’s official WeChat account, and get free entry.

“Use Huawei phones, shoot grand photos on the mountain,” the notice said. “We wish friends around the world who support Huawei success and bliss.”

The offer was immediately questioned by Chinese social media users, asking whether it discriminated against other tourists and if it was in accordance with the law.

A staff member for the park confirmed the offer and said the promotion was not illegal.

“We are sacrificing our own profits to provide this benefit for the public,” she said.

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When the South China Morning Post called the local tourism complaint hotline in Jiaozuo, Henan on Tuesday, a staff member said she had received similar complaints.

She said the tourism board had never encountered a similar incident before and had consulted a legal expert.

“Our expert believes that it isn’t an unfair rule. Because it is a promotional policy, it doesn’t harm other tourists’ benefits,” she said.

“Because buying a ticket is the normal practice here, they aren’t harming anyone, but only offering a discount to a few, so we didn’t call it off.”

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This is not the first time companies in China have shown their support for Huawei amid the ongoing tensions between China and the US over the Meng case.

Some companies have expressed support for Huawei on social media, raising questions among the public about whether they are engaging in publicity stunts. Some internet users have also wondered whether nationalistic pride has been taken too far.

Last Monday, one of Huawei’s suppliers, Shenzhen-based LCD display maker Menpad, said on its official website that it would fine any employee who bought an Apple iPhone.

It also said it would cease buying any American products such as office equipment, computers and cars, and would reward staff who bought Huawei or ZTE phones by giving them a 15 per cent subsidy.