South Korean tech giant LG appears to have seized on the US crackdown on Huawei Technologies, but the attempt to troll its Chinese rival backfired immediately.
As was first reported by PhoneArena, LG's South African branch took to Twitter on Thursday to vaunt its "strong relationship" with Google, which was forced to cut ties with Huawei last week.
The tweet, which is now unavailable, is said to have included a screenshot of a cheeky conversation with the Google Assistant. When asked "who is your best friend," the assistant replied: "I don't want to be too forward, but I think you and I get along quite well."
The tweet did not go over well with some users, triggering a slew of claims that LG is providing poor customer service in South Africa.
"Now if only you were able to update the phones on latest Android in time," replied an angry user.
Another quipped: "Such a good relationship that your phones barely receive any software update".
A Twitterian mimicked a conversation with the Google Assistant:
You should give your license to Huawei based on updates you release you don't need it.— Filipe Silva (@Dark_Assi7) 24 мая 2019 г.
Although LG's tweet did not call out Huawei outright, it was apparently aimed at the Chinese telecom equipment maker, which has suffered a series of blows at the hands of the Trump administration in the past month.
To recap, last week the US Department of Commerce put Huawei Technologies and nearly 70 of its affiliates on a blacklist, prohibiting them from buying equipment from partners in the US without government consent.
The move led to several US corporations, including Google and Microsoft as well as major semiconductor makers such as Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx and Broadcom falling in line with new US regulations and cutting ties with Huawei.
The Trump-led crackdown, which came against the backdrop of a year-long tariff war between Washington and Beijing, sparked backlash from China and Huawei.
It emerged on Saturday that China's internet watchdog has prepared a draft regulation that would allow the authorities to block foreign technology from the national market if it was deemed to pose "national security risk".
This proposal, if signed into law, would effectively mirror Donald Trump's 15 May executive order, which enabled the government to ban companies posing an "unacceptable risk to the national security" and led to the Commerce Department to blacklist Huawei.
Trump earlier prohibited major government contractors from using Huawei equipment, citing the same security concerns, and pushed for US allies to follow suit.
However, the US president, who is currently involved in trade talks with Chinese officials, has indicated that Huawei could also be part of a future trade deal.
The latest round of Sino-US trade talks stalled on Friday, but the sides pledged to continue working toward a trade agreement.