Taiwan’s Gigabyte Sparks Social Media Outcry After Firm Mocks Chinese-made Products

Gigabyte products have been removed from Chinese e-commerce platforms including Tmall, JD.com and Suning.com on Tuesday. (Source: Gigabyte)

Taiwanese computer hardware manufacturer Gigabyte apologized on Tuesday after it was found referring to Chinese-made products as suffering from low quality, sparking heavy criticism from Chinese net users and removal from e-commerce sites.

In a description on its website, the company stated that 90% of its laptops are manufactured in Taiwan, “unlike other brands that choose to outsource to Chinese contract manufacturers using low-cost and low-quality methods.”

The statement caught the attention of the Youth League, the Communist Party’s youth wing, which posted “Gigabyte, who gave you the guts?” with a screenshot of the company’s website on its official Weibo account on Tuesday.

The post drew a barrage of negative comments from angry net users, and by Tuesday afternoon, Gigabyte products had been removed from Chinese e-commerce platforms including Tmall, JD.com and Suning.com. Its Taiwan-listed shares sank nearly 10% to NT$104 on Tuesday.

“Not only is the brand disrespecting China’s sovereignty, it’s belittling the quality of China-made products,” one comment read.

“Gigabyte, please exit the Chinese market,” another user said.

The company on Tuesday posted an apology via its Aorus sub-brand on Weibo, saying that it has made factually erroneous statements on its website due to internal mismanagement.

“Gigabyte’s production lines for products including motherboards, laptops and other computer accessories are located across the Chinese mainland, accounting for more than 90 percent of our production. We are proud of Chinese-made products,” the statement read, adding that it has been operating in China for more than 20 years.

In a second statement, Gigabyte said it has “adhered to the one-China principle and oppose any form of separatist behavior and speech.”

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Founded in 1986, Gigabyte is best known for its Aorus gaming PCs and displays and its Aero range of laptops. Its website shows the company has manufacturing bases in Taoyuan, Taiwan, Ningbo, Zhejiang and Dongguan, Guangdong Province.

The company on Tuesday launched a new line-up of laptops powered by Intel’s 11th generation Tiger Lake-H series processors, including its Aorus series for gamers and its Aero series aimed at creators.