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Xiaomi's Barra gets snared in border dispute with India map flub
[BEIJING] A Xiaomi Corp briefing to promote the smartphone maker's expansion in India sparked ire in China after Vice President Hugo Barra got entangled in a decades-old border dispute between the two countries.
The hiccup occurred Jan 28 when Mr Barra, who oversees global operations at the Beijing-based company, announced in New Delhi that Xiaomi would start selling smartphones in India via its own website by the end of the year.
An image projected behind him showed a map that included the disputed Aksai Chin border region as part of India, with the text "India is hugely important and we are here to stay."
Mr Barra posted a photo of the moment on his account with China's Weibo microblog service. He deleted the photo hours later, but not before Chinese Web users spotted it.
"Does Xiaomi want to sacrifice national interests to please foreign buyers?" one user wrote.
"The territory is part of China and anyone who loves China won't buy Xiaomi products anymore."
A Xiaomi spokeswoman declined to comment. The company ranks sixth globally among smartphone vendors.
China and India fought a border war in the early 1960's and tensions continue to simmer over the disputed area.
In 2012, The Economist said India censored a map featured in a 14-page special report because the image didn't accurately reflect the country's territorial claims.