South Korean K-pop group BTS is facing a backlash in China over comments a member made about the Korean War.
In a speech, the band’s leader, known as RM, mentioned South Korea’s shared “history of pain” with the US over the 1950-53 conflict, in which the two countries fought together.
But his remarks have angered Chinese social media users, as Beijing backed the North in the war.
The controversy also appears to have affected commercial deals.
Adverts featuring BTS from companies including Samsung, sports brand Fila and car manufacturer Hyundai disappeared from a number of Chinese websites or social media platforms, although it is unclear who removed them.
K-pop has a large following in China and BTS – one of the most successful groups – are no different, with at least five million fans on China’s popular social media platform Weibo.
RM’s comments came as BTS received an award celebrating relations between the US and South Korea.
“We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together and the sacrifices of countless men and women,” he said.
But his words were met with an angry response by some social media users in China, who noted the losses their country also suffered in the war.
“They [BTS] should not make any money from China,” one user commented on Weibo, reported Reuters news agency. “If you want to make money from Chinese fans you have to consi
Huawei Mate 40 phones launch despite chip freeze
Huawei has unveiled its Mate 40 smartphones claiming they feature a more “sophisticated” processor than Apple’s forthcoming iPhones.
The component was made using the same “five nanometre” process as its US rival’s chip, but contains billions more transistors.
As a result, the Chinese firm claims its phones are more powerful.
However, Huawei has had its supply of the chips cut off because of a US trade ban that came into effect in September.
That means that once its stockpile of the new Kirin 9000 processors runs out, it faces being unable to make more of the Mate 40 handsets in their current form.
At present, only Taiwan’s TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung have the expertise and equipment to manufacture 5nm chips, and both are forbidden to supply Huawei with them or any other semiconductor product whose creation involves “US technology and software”.
The States says the move has been taken on national security grounds, but Huawei denies posing a threat.
The BBC asked how many of the chips Huawei had purchased, but it declined to answer.
However, in a online presentation, the company’s consumer devices chief Richard Yu acknowledged the ban was “making the situation extremely difficult for us”.
Huawei also faces other earlier restrictions placed on it by Washington, which have prevented any of the devices it has launched since mid-2019 from providing access to some of Google’s services, including its Play Store.
Despite this, Huawei remains the world’s third-bestselling smartphone-maker, and the market leader in its home country.
“In China, Huawei has phenomenal brand awareness in the premium space,” commented Mo Jia, an analyst at tech research firm Canalys.
“Demand for the Mate 40 series is expected to be strong [there], but despite this, amid US sanctions, component constraints may limit the total quantity of new Kirin-powered smartphones Huawei can produce.”
The basic Mate 40 model – which Huawei said costs €899 ($1,049; £800) – has a 6.5in (16.5cm) OLED display. Three more expensive versions – ranging in price up to €2,295 – have 6.8in OLED screens.
In each case, the screens offer a 90Hz refresh rate – meaning the equivalent of 90 frames per second – which is higher than Apple’s newest iPhones but less than Samsung’s S20 series.
Mr Yu suggested this offered the best balance of smoothness and battery life.
One of the main ways the different models are differentiated are by their cameras:
- the basic Mate 40 has a single selfie camera and three rear cameras (wide-angle, ultra-wide angle and telephoto)
- the Mate 40 Pro adds a 3D face-unlock sensor, and improves the specifications of the rear ultra-wide and telephoto cameras
- the Mate 40 Pro+ adds a fourth rear “super-zoom” camera and a fifth depth-sensing camera for improved shallow-focus shots
- the Porsche Design Mate 40 RS introduces an infrared thermometry sensor, allowing the device to check the local temperature
For the time being, the firm only plans to put the Pro model on sale outside China, where it will cost £1,100.
One of the innovations detailed was the use of a “free-form lens” for the ultra-wide angle camera found on each model, which Huawei said solved image distortion problems.
The firm added that an optional “eyes-on-device” feature – which only turns on the screen when it detects being looked at – would reduce the power the handset consumes.
Huawei said the Kirin 9000 chip includes an integrated 5G modem, which enables it to extend battery life beyond its rivals.
One slide displayed at the launch claimed the Mate 40 Pro would last about 25% longer on a single charge than Samsung’s Note 20 Ultra+, despite the latter having a bigger battery.
Huawei said it was also using the extra processing power to take slow-motion shots at 240 frames per second from two of the cameras simultaneously.
The firm also boasted that the chip allows its devices to offer a “pro-gaming” experience, thanks to its ability to offer graphics with better detail and lighting effects.
However, some titles including Call of Duty Mobile will not work on the devices because of their lack of access to some of Google’s technologies, while some others function but are unable to make in-app payments.
Most Android apps can be installed via the Petal search tool even if they do not appear in Huawei’s own app store.
However, there are notable exceptions.
Many banking apps, eBay and the UK’s Tesco Groceries app will not install, and instead the user is provided w