China, Africa, and the West: A Geopolitical Assessment of Huawei’s Crisis Communication on Social Networks

Stefano Calzati


The article explores China–Africa relations in the context of ICTs through the lenses of social networking sites (SNSs). By focusing on sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), and Kenya in particular, the goal is to analyze how the Chinese company Huawei—the first to access Kenya’s market in 1998—has used Facebook and Twitter during the outbreak of the crisis that followed the decision of the United States in May 2019 to ban Huawei’s services and products. Drawing on existing literature on crisis communication, the analysis of various Huawei accounts at the global, interregional, and state levels shows that the company tends to implement a farraginous communication strategy across platforms and accounts. Ultimately, the communication on SNSs tends to reflect asymmetric geopolitical power relations between developed and developing countries, exemplified by Kenya’s marginalization as far as the communication of the crisis is concerned in comparison with other global or Western-related accounts.


China–Africa relations, ICTs, social networks, crisis communication

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