Onus on Huawei to manage security issues

A security officer stands guard outside a closed Huawei store.
A security officer stands guard outside a closed Huawei store.PHOTO: REUTERS

It is curious that the management of Huawei did not have a contingency plan to deal with the surge in demand for the $54 promotion phone after having thought out such a creative marketing campaign to commemorate Singapore's 54th National Day (Thousands see red as stores run out of Huawei's $54 promotion phones, July 27).

While commercial entities are entitled to roll out gimmicks and campaigns to lure customers into their shops, they should have crowd control and emergency response backup plans to deal with potential safety and security issues.

The absence of this shows the company's lack of public concern and sensitivity to the target customers of the promotion - those aged 50 years and above.

Huawei said it did not anticipate the overwhelming response, but the management could have easily worked out demographic details, acquisition success rate, and other relevant data to make a calculated guess. Obviously this was overlooked or disregarded.

What is more disconcerting is that valuable police resources were called in to handle a commercial activity gone awry.

Huawei should have had standby commercial security resources at its own cost or made arrangements with the mall operators to provide security to guard against any unruly developments.

Instead, taxpayers were made to bear the cost of ensuring public safety.

Huawei should have had standby commercial security resources at its own cost or made arrangements with the mall operators to provide security to guard against any unruly developments.

Instead, taxpayers were made to bear the cost of ensuring public safety.

The authorities should issue a warning to Huawei and make it pay for the cost of the police resources deployed in this saga.

In future, all such marketing activities should be endorsed by the landlords and mall operators, and a contingency plan or scenario planning should be registered with the public security agency to ensure unforeseen circumstances can be dealt with by the organisers and sponsors without invoking public resources.

The bottom line is that valuable public resources should not be expended on such commercial undertakings.

Ee Teck Siew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2019, with the headline 'Onus on Huawei to manage security issues'. Print Edition | Subscribe