Vietnam to Check Huawei, Xiaomi Phones for Disputed Map: Report

Mai Ngoc Chau

(Bloomberg) -- Vietnam will inspect all phones imported from China, such as Huawei and Xiaomi models, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reports citing Nguyen Hung Anh, head of Vietnam Customs’ anti-smuggling and investigation department.

At issue is whether the Chinese-made phones come with preinstalled navigation apps that use maps reflecting Chinese territorial claims rejected by Hanoi, such as the expansive nine-dash line claims in the South China Sea that overlap resource-rich maritime areas Vietnam says are within in its exclusive economic waters. The U.S. has said the area under dispute could contain oil and gas reserves worth $2.5 trillion.

Vietnam has been the most aggressive Southeast Asian nation pushing back on Chinese maritime claims. Its ships directly confront Chinese vessels off its coast in disputed territorial waters and the government bans and removes products that reference China’s controversial claims to large swaths of the South China Sea, from T-shirts worn by tourists to Hollywood movies.

Vietnam last week seized all seven car models from China’s Hanteng Autos for using the China’s disputed map, the newspaper reported yesterday, citing Vietnam Customs Head Nguyen Van Can. Earlier, Vietnam said it would penalize Volkswagen AG’s local distributor and an importer for displaying a Touareg CR745J car at a motor show last month that featured the nine-dash line in the navigation map.

The country also recently blocked screening of a Dreamworks Animation movie “Abominable,” co-produced with a Chinese company, that included a scene showing the nine-dash line.

Vietnam Customs will send instructions to its local branches soon, the newspaper said. The agency, which typically responds only to formal requests made on paper, did not immediately respond to a request for comment via phone.

(Updates with additional details of Vietnamese response, starting in third paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Mai Ngoc Chau in Ho Chi Minh City at cmai9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chua Baizhen at bchua14@bloomberg.net, Derek Wallbank, John Boudreau

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