ZTE continues brand push with latest UK smartphone

Chinese vendor to launch Grand X in the U.K. through Virgin Media, Phones 4 U; pledges to invest in brand-building. ZTE on Wednesday heralded the U.K, launch of the Grand X, a new smartphone that it hopes will enable it to realise its ambition to become a household name among the country's young people.

The Android 4.0-powered, dual-core Grand X - the Chinese vendor's third smartphone to be launched in the U.K. this year – will be available from the beginning of August through Virgin Media and retailer Phones 4 U. The handset will "establish ZTE further in the U.K., Europe and globally," said He Shiyou, EVP and head of ZTE's terminal handset division.

He reminded the assembled media at the London launch that ZTE aims to break into the world's top three handset makers this year. "We are well-positioned to achieve this target," having shipped more than 50 million devices worldwide last year, up 400% year-on-year, taking the number four slot according to IDC, He said. "This year we are anticipating smartphone sales to double with significant market growth in Europe," He added. ZTE aims to sell devices across Europe, but it is targeting France, Germany and the U.K. in particular.

Wu Sa, director of mobile device operations at ZTE in the U.K. explained that the Grand X will be aimed at 18-35 year olds who are cost-conscious but are looking for a high-end experience.When the phone launches through Virgin Media, the U.K.'s biggest mobile virtual network operator, prices will start at £24 per month for customers taking a 24-month contract. It will also be available to prepaid users at £189.99. "It's not about sticking a ZTE logo on it, it's about reaching the consumer," Wu said.

Indeed, with its only operator partner being an MVNO, rather than any of the big network operators, and without significant brand recognition as yet in the U.K., the Chinese firm faces some challenges when it comes to getting Grand X into the hands of consumers.
The firm plans to invest further in its brand, as well as strengthening its relationships with U.K. service providers and channel partners.
"We know what needs to be done," said Chris Edwards, European marketing and business development director at ZTE. ZTE has also launched a new consumer-facing Website specifically for its U.K. devices business.

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