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Taiwan minister catches flak for iPhone 5 posting

The country's information minister posted a photo of the iPhone 5 on his Facebook account, and under it, put a caption saying, "Help the economy and bolster consumption."

A look at the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.
A look at the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. James Martin/CNET

Taiwan is up in arms over comments a government official made on his Facebook account.

Hu Yu-wei, Taiwan's information minister, posted a picture of the iPhone 5 on his Facebook account yesterday, along with a caption, saying "Help the economy and bolster consumption," according to the Associated Press, which was first to report on the story. Soon after, Hu was hammered by critics, who said that he wasn't supporting his country.

Taiwan is currently suffering through a sluggish economy that could use a jump-start from consumer spending. The government has tried to encourage consumers to buy Taiwanese products, including smartphones from that country's HTC. By seeming to urge consumers to buy an iPhone 5, Hu was criticized for lacking patriotism.

In his defense, Hu issued a statement saying that he currently owns the HTC One, adding that the "accusation of my being not patriotic was a misunderstanding."

Still, the issue seems to indicate the fierce patriotism that follows certain company products. In tough times, consumers are urged to support those products that will benefit the country. A similar scenario plays out in South Korea, where government officials nearly exclusively own Samsung products and often urge consumers to do the same.

But is that right? As Hu pointed out, "all Cabinet officials can be free from fears of being caught not using HTC phones" in his country.