ZTE takes aim at smartphones

Fiona Chau
28 Apr 2011

Chinese vendor ZTE is betting on the smartphone and tablet markets as the new growth engines for the company.

ZTE announced earlier this week that the company would boost its terminal business by increasing total shipments to 120 million units this year, up 33% from 90 million a year earlier.

Of the total, 12 million are smartphones and tablets, ZTE executive vice president He Shiyou said.

He said ZTE will launch 30 new models of smartphones and tablets this year, focusing on high-end segments and strategic markets like US, Europe, China and Brazil, as the company is evolving from product-driven to brand-driven.

ZTE's revenues from terminal products, including 3G, GSM and CDMA handsets, jumped 51.4% year-on-year in Q1. The company shipped 22 million terminals, up 46.6% from the same period last year.

He declined to reveal the sales target for 2011 but said the company aims to become the top five global makers of Android smartphones and to get into the top three of tablet producers.

As part of the company’s strategy, ZTE has recently launched 11 new models of smartphones and tablets, such as ZTE Skate, ZTE Blade and ZTE LightTab, which support W-CDMA, EVDO, TD-SCDMA and LTE technologies.

He said currently there are 7000 employees working at the terminal business unit and the company will set up “a large-sized cloud computing team and smart terminal R&D team” to support the company’s development on mobile internet.

Rival Huawei is also pushing aggressively into the smartphones market, with plans to boost smartphone sales to between 12 million and 15 million units this year - nearly five times the 3.3 million shipped in 2010.

This represents about 20-25% of the target of 60 million mobile phones shipped in 2011, a spokeswoman told TelecomAsia.

She said the company plans to roll out at least 10 new models of smartphones and launch several new tablet models including flagship products this year.

“In the global Android cell phone sector, we are already in the top five and we’re aiming to become the third-largest cell phone maker in the next three years,” she added.

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