ZTE is ramping up its ambitions in the mobile phone market, with plans to significantly boost smartphone shipments this year and challenge the leading positions of Apple and Samsung in the next eight years.
The company plans to more than double its smartphone shipments to 35 million units this year from 15 million in 2011, said Lv Qianhao, head of ZTE handset strategy. Of the total, a large proportion will be mid- and high-end smartphones for key markets such as China, Asia, Europe and North America, Lv added.
According to IDC, ZTE was ranked the world's No.4 handset vendor by shipments in the first quarter. Total shipments reached 19.1 million and ZTE's market share was 4.8%, exceeding LG, which had 3.6%.
ZTE has also benefited financially from its bet on handsets. According to Lv, revenues from terminal products including smartphones grew 22.24% year-on-year in the first quarter, and contributed 30% of the company’s total revenues, up from the 20% contribution in 2011.
Lv said the Chinese telecom vendor wants to become the world’s third largest mobile phone manufacturer by 2015, and turn the ZTE brand into a well-known smartphone brand such as Apple and Samsung this year.
“In future there will be only five to eight major players in the [mobile phone] market, with the top three vendors taking 80% of the market share and 50% of the total revenues,” Lv said. “Under such circumstances you’ve either get into the top three position or you’re doomed to close.”