ZTE Spokesman Jacky Wu Uses iPhone at Awards Ceremony, Triggering Controversy

At the Golden Rooster Awards ceremony held on November 12, Jacky Wu, a Chinese actor, director and spokesperson of smartphone maker ZTE, took a photo with Apple’s iPhone, which triggered online discussions about whether the action violated the actor’s endorsement contract.

According to the color and size of Jacky Wu’s mobile phone, some media personnel have said that it should be the blue version of the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but equipped with Urban Armor Gear’s anti-fall phone case.

Jacky Wu is using the mobile phone to take a picture (Source: Weibo)

At present, the controversial point is whether the endorsement contract between Jacky Wu and ZTE clearly stipulates the occasion of using the brand’s phones. If there is a breach of contract, the brand may cancel the contract or claim compensation.

Wu started to endorse ZTE on January 20 this year. Since then, he has used ZTE phones to post on Twitter-like Weibo, ranging from ZTE Axon 30 Ultra to 40 Ultra. As of the posting time, ZTE did not respond to the issue.

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Wu is best known for his roles in various martial arts and war films that show patriotism, such as “Wolf Warrior”, “The Battle at Lake Changjin”, and “The Eight Hundred”. “Wolf Warriors 2” has taken in 5.6 billion in box office receipts, claiming championship over the Chinese film market and becoming the first Chinese film to enter the top 100 of the world box office list. As a result, Wu was labeled as a patriotic movie director by Chinese netizens, and some emojis about him have appeared online.

Some emojis about Jacky Wu based on his role in “Song of Youth” emerged in China (Source: Song of Youth)

However, the use of the iPhone has caused some to question the image he has built. Some comments have included: “Wolf Warrior director uses Apple’s product? Why not use Huawei’s phone?” “It doesn’t matter what he uses in private, but the awards ceremony is full of cameras.” “Patriotism is a business.” Though one chimed in and wrote, “Ninety percent of the stars on this stage use iPhones.”

Doubts about the unqualified spokesperson have also happened to Chinese singer and actor Wang YiBo. At Chinese PC giant Lenovo’s press conference on November 7, when the host asked Wang to share Lenovo’s products he usually uses, he replied “iPad”.