When you're in politics, even the most innocuous statement -- or Facebook post -- can land you in hot water. That's what Hu Yu-wei, Taiwan's information minister and a government spokesperson, discovered on Sunday when he posted a photo of an iPhone 5 on his personal Facebook page.
Hu's post seemed to be the typical type of thing you'd see on Facebook, with a picture of Apple's latest handset and the words "Help the economy and bolster consumption" underneath.
That seemingly harmless statement set off a firestorm in Taiwan, both in the media and on the Internet. Why? Many consider it to be a slap in the face to HTC Corp, a major Taiwanese tech company. HTC includes Taiwan's president Ma Ying-jeou as a major fan, and he often gives HTC smartphones to visiting foreign dignitaries.
After being accused of being unpatriotic, Hu reported that he uses an HTC One, but was considering possibly purchasing an iPhone 5. The Taiwanese press appears to have ignored the fact that the iPhone 5 uses many components made in Taiwan and that Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group assembles the phones in China.
However, HTC's diminishing sales have been pointed out as a reason why Taiwan's exports have declined for the last half-year, and economics minister Shih Yen-hsiang has made public pronouncements that citizens should buy HTC products.