Hu Yu-wei, the information minister and government spokesman, stirred up controversy Sunday for posting a picture of an iPhone 5 on his Facebook page.
He was immediately blasted by the media and on the Internet.
“Can you imagine the South Korean government spokesman speaking out for iPhone 5 on his Facebook page?” asked the mass circulation United Daily News. It noted that President Ma Ying-jeou is a big HTC fan and gives out HTC handsets as gifts for foreign dignitaries.
Hu’s act might make economic sense as Taiwan’s GDP is forecast to grow just over 1 percent amid the sputtering global economy, and officials are encouraging people to spend more to boost domestic consumption.
After all, iPhone 5 handsets use many Taiwan-made components and are mainly assembled in China by Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group.
But HTC’s declining fortunes _ largely in the face of stronger competition from Apple and Samsung Electronics Co. _ have been cited as a major reason why Taiwan’s exports have declined for six months running.
Taiwan’s Economics Minister Shih Yen-hsiang has called on the public to buy HTC products, noting that HTC produces its handsets in Taiwan and is more vital to the island’s economy than most computer makers, which assemble their products in China.