Xiaomi shows Arunachal is in India at handset launch, triggers anger in China

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Beijing
  • Updated: Jan 30, 2015 14:26 IST

A map showing Arunachal Pradesh as part of India displayed at the New Delhi launch of Chinese company Xiaomi’s popular Mi4 mobile phone on Wednesday has triggered online uproar in China.

China claims Arunachal Pradesh as South Tibet and Chinese maps show the area as part of its own territory.

Thousands of Chinese netizens reacted angrily on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, after a picture of the Indian map displayed prominently at the high-profile event found its way across Chinese social media platforms.

It showed Xiaomi’s vice-president, Hugo Barra, standing on the stage with the map behind him – with Arunachal, as we know it, within India.

Many Chinese citizens questioned how a domestic, Chinese company allowed, what to them, was an unpardonable gaffe.

Reactions were furious also because Xiaomi, the third largest mobile phone maker in the world, is an example of a Chinese success story – a company that has punched above its weight to take on Apple and Samsung.

“Xiaomi, you need to get out of China,” said a Weibo user 145457.

Another user Virus said: “Xiaomi needs to respond to this and tell us why (this happened).”

“Xiaomi has given a part of our land to India. If it launches in Japan, it will give away Diaoyu islands to them,” a Beijing-based Chinese teacher told HT. (Like with India, China is locked in a dispute with Japan over the island in East China Sea).

Several users said that they will not by Xiaomi products any more if the company failed to apologise or explain.

Some comments were dipped in sarcasm; swear words were used freely.

“We can give them (India) Heilongjiang (in northeastern China) as long we keep making money,” wrote joo0706.

“Capital and money have no country,” wrote another.

A Xiaomi spokesperson from Singapore refused to comment on the controversy.

Interestingly, in 2011, a Chinese company had shown Arunachal Pradesh as part of China on its brochure during the signing ceremony in New Delhi to invest $400 million in Gujarat. The Indian government had then taken up the issue with the Chinese embassy in the Capital.

The question remains whether Xiaomi, which sees India as a big market, can show Arunachal Pradesh as part of China while launching its products there?

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