INTERNATIONAL - Taiwan suspended sales of three Huawei Technologies Co. smartphone models that identify Taiwan as part of China, striking a fresh blow in a long-running conflict over references to sovereignty.
Phone carriers were ordered to stop offering Huawei’s P30, P3O Pro and Nova 5T models starting Thursday because their displays included the words “Taiwan, China” for time zones and contacts, said Peter Niou, a deputy director at the National Communications Commission in Taipei. The reference impairs Taiwan’s “national dignity,” Niou said.
The halt adds Huawei to the list of global brands, from Coach and Givenchy to JPMorgan, that have had to respond to the sovereignty dispute between separately governed Taiwan and China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory. The two fashion brands, owned by companies in the U.S. and France, apologized to China’s government after offering T-shirts that identified Taiwan as a country.
Displays on the phones started showing Taiwan, China, after a software update, Taipei-based Economic Daily News reported earlier.
Earlier this month, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. said it would continue making chips for Huawei, after the government denied a report that Washington asked it to lean on the semiconductor giant to suspend business with its No. 2 customer. The Financial Times newspaper reported that the Trump administration asked the government to freeze the flow of chips to Huawei, which the U.S. has accused of posing an espionage risk.
The suspension on sales of Huawei models would continue until the company changes the reference to Taiwan on the phone, Niou said.
A representative of Huawei declined to comment.
Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan’s biggest telecom company, will handle the case in accordance with government regulations, it said Friday by email.