ZTE targets global top three status by 2015

Chinese handset manufacturer ZTE said it wants to become a global top-three handset manufacturer by 2015, as it readies its assault on the UK market.

ZTE UK director of mobile device operations Wu Sa (pictured) told Mobile News he expects the UK to be a “key driver” in the Chinese manufacturer’s ambitions.

ZTE, like Chinese rival Huawei, has made its intentions clear in recent months, to become a brand name in the handset market, having provided ODM handsets for network operators.

Its ambitions to become a top three manufacturer echo those of Huawei.

ZTE recently unveiled a partnership with distributor Brightpoint to bring its ownbrand devices to the UK in Q4. A number of ZTE Android devices, including the Skate, Tureis and Libra, are expected to launch shortly. Details on price and carriers are unconfirmed.

Sa said ZTE was already one of the fastest growing ODM device manufacturers and has a 50 per cent share of this market in the UK. Examples currently available in the UK include the San Francisco on Orange and the Racer on Three.

ZTE was ranked fourth for global market share by analyst IDC in 2010, with 3.7 per cent, behind LG (8.4 per cent), Samsung (20.2 per cent) and Nokia (32.6 per cent). Its position is driven mainly by its sales of low-cost feature phones in China as well as emerging markets in Africa and Latin America.

Sa said: “We certainly aspire in the next two to three years to establish ZTE as one of the leading vendors in the UK market. To achieve that is to bring the value to the consumers and to our customers in the market.

“It’s very clear that we don’t have pockets as deep as those tier-one manufacturers already established. The ultimate story here is that the brand has been created by a particular experience and recognition that the consumer will have of ZTE.

“In terms of the white label part, ZTE has been the predominant supplier to the UK market. According to some of the numbers out there, we have 50 per cent in this space.

“The number one thing for us is to get the product right, so we have the right product with good quality and good user experience, and that itself is the fundamental value of the brand, and the value that goes with having a brand like that.”

However, Sa said ZTE would not invest vast amounts of money in advertising the brand, instead looking to sell the devices on customers’ experience when using its handsets.

“We have noticed that there are some established brands whose market share is shrinking drastically of late. Is it because they have invested less in getting their brand out there? I don’t think so.

“My team has got increasingly strong recognition from our customers. What differentiates ZTE in this market is the value we can bring it as a team.”

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