Taiwan’s Gigabyte Technology Faces Boycott In China After Mocking ‘Low-Quality’ Manufacturing On Mainland

In an advertisement for its latest laptop series that has since been taken down from its website, Gigabyte Technology, a Taipei-based manufacturer specialising in motherboards and graphical processing units (GPUs), said the company insists on making its products in Taiwan, where it boasted strict quality control.

Taiwan’s Gigabyte Technology faces boycott in China after mocking ‘low-quality’ manufacturing on mainland

By Tracy Qu

A Taiwanese computer hardware maker has become the target of a boycott in mainland China, after calling Chinese manufacturing “low-quality” and touting its products as Taiwan-made.

In an advertisement for its latest laptop series that has since been taken down from its website, Gigabyte Technology, a Taipei-based manufacturer specialising in motherboards and graphical processing units (GPUs), said the company insists on making its products in Taiwan, where it boasted strict quality control.

“Unlike other brands that have opted for low-cost and low-quality contract manufacturing in China, Gigabyte Technology is committed to producing excellent and high-performing components and laptops,” the advertisement read. “As a Taiwan-based laptop and component manufacturer, we ensure that 90 per cent of our laptops are made locally in Taiwan.”

The promotion drew the attention of the Communist Youth League of China, which posted a screenshot of the advertisement on microblogging site Weibo on Tuesday, with the caption: “Gigabyte, who gave you so much courage?”

A Weibo post from the Communist Youth League of China showing a screenshot of an advertisement from Taipei-based computer hardware maker Gigabyte Technology, mocking “low-quality” manufacturing in mainland China.

The Youth League, which has nearly 16 million followers on Weibo, has long positioned itself as a patriotic tone-setter on Chinese social media. In March, it criticised Swedish clothing brand H&M over the company’s refusal to buy cotton from Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has been accused of engaging in human rights violations.

Gigabyte, which has been operating a factory in the eastern Chinese industrial hub of Ningbo since 2003, apologised soon after. The company said in a statement that it has always supported the “One China” principle – a political stance championed by Beijing that recognises mainland China and Taiwan as part of a single country.

“Some of the content recently published on our official website is seriously inconsistent with the facts, an occurrence that was caused by poor internal management by the company,” Gigabyte said in a Weibo post on Tuesday. “We have production lines across mainland China, which account for 90 per cent of our production. Gigabyte is proud of the quality of Chinese manufacturing.”

The swift apology failed to quell the online fury.

“You don’t stand a chance any more,” one Weibo user commented on Gigabyte’s post. “Seriously, don’t waste your energy. You have crossed the red line of the central government.”

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By late Tuesday, Gigabyte products disappeared from most major Chinese e-commerce platforms.

A keyword search for “Gigabyte” yielded no results on JD.com and Suning. The official Gigabyte store on Tmall, the online marketplace run by South China Morning Post owner Alibaba Group Holding, had no product listings.

Alibaba, JD.com and Suning did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The share price of Taiwan-listed Gigabyte fell nearly 20 per cent between Tuesday and Wednesday as tech stocks in global markets are taking a beating. The Taiwan Capitalisation Weighted Stock Index (Taiex) fell by as much 8.6 per cent amid panic selling related to the pandemic and a negative outlook for the tech sector.

Originally published at South china morning post

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