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Xiaomi apologizes after VP touts voyeuristic potential of latest phone’s camera

Netizens are questioning the company’s internet marketing strategy.

Photo:Shutterstock.com

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi apologized on Sunday for a comment made by its vice president (VP) Chang Cheng while promoting the company’s new handset, the Mi 10 Youth Edition, in which he highlighted the device’s upgraded camera by suggesting the possibility of observing female students’ dormitories.

“Our employee Chang Cheng posted inappropriate remarks on Weibo recently, causing troubles for netizens and users. Xiaomi sincerely apologizes for the negative results,” Xiaomi wrote on the company’s official Weibo account.

On April 24, Chang, who has 3.4 million followers on microblogging platform Weibo, teased Xiaomi’s upcoming device featuring a 50x periscopic zoom camera.

“Cheering on the basketball court, others watched you scored, but I saw your crotch cracked. There is a (…) nest behind every beautifully dressed girl in their female dormitory,” reads Chang’s post, which has since then been deleted.

Shortly after, Chang came under a barrage of criticism online, with netizens calling the post “sexist” and “sleazy.”

One user expressed her anger, writing that “Chang Cheng is under-qualified, otherwise, he would not exploit women by leveraging soft sexism for internet marketing purposes.”

Just two days later, on April 26, Chang apologized on Weibo. “My inappropriate post last Friday caused bad influences, made netizens feel uncomfortable, and brought trouble to our users who care and like Xiaomi. I’m wrong. I accept all the criticism,” Chang wrote.

Additionally, he announced a donation of RMB 100,000 (USD 14,132)  to a charity in Shanghai focusing on teenage education.

Chang, former VP of Lenovo, joined Xiaomi in January after leading the smartphone division of the Chinese-manufacturer for two years, KrASIA reported.

Chang acquired his fame on social networks for his frequents and often controversial posts. Earlier in December, Chang pointed directly to Xiaomi’s flagship model Xiaomi 8 to promote Lenovo’s new phone, the Z5s, suggesting that every function of the Z5s was better than its rival. Only a few days later, Chang apologized on Weibo and sent congratulations to Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun on his birthday.