Bloomberg News

ZTE Plans to Win Smartphone Share in Europe, U.S. on Android

June 14, 2011

June 14 (Bloomberg) -- ZTE Corp., China’s second-biggest maker of mobile-phone equipment, aims to outpace smartphone rivals in Europe and the U.S. helped by a growing device range and the popularity of Google Inc.’s Android platform.

The company’s combined market share in the two regions may increase to 10 percent in the next 12 to 18 months from about 5 percent at the end of 2010, ZTE’s Thomas Granstrom said in an interview in Dusseldorf, Germany. Granstrom is the general manager for Shenzhen-based ZTE in the Nordic region and is authorized to speak for markets in Europe and the U.S.

ZTE, which aims to win market share from leading mobile- phone makers such Nokia Oyj, Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc., sold a total of 90 million handsets worldwide last year, an increase of 50 percent. The Chinese company is betting on demand for Android handsets, software application suites and cloud services to fuel revenue growth in coming years.

“For certain segments we’re having strong opportunities, but for the overall market of smartphones, we don’t have the broad portfolio yet to cover more ground,” Granstrom said.

ZTE is trying to extend relationships with operators such as Vodafone Group Plc and Royal KPN NV’s German E-Plus division to include a range of products from wireless radio stations to mobile phones and software, according to the executive. The company is presenting products including high-speed household routers and instant-message and call software suites to potential customers in Europe.

ZTE, whose products include the Blade phone and Vodafone’s 553 device, predicts 2011 sales of its handset business in Europe will increase by a similar rate to last year’s 150 percent, Granstrom said.

Branding Efforts

The company, which increasingly offers devices under its own brand to get in direct touch with consumers, was also one of the first competitors for Apple in the tablet computer market.

It will start selling the Base Tab, a co-branded version of its ZTE Light device, through E-Plus in coming months, Granstrom said. ZTE plans to introduce a version of the tablet with fourth-generation transmission capabilities in the fourth quarter, he said.

ZTE is also competing with Ericsson AB, Alcatel-Lucent SA, Nokia Siemens Networks and fellow Chinese company Huawei Technologies Co. to build next-generation wireless network infrastructures capable of handling a data transfer speed of as much as 100 megabits per second. It is currently testing transmission devices capable of handling so-called long-term evolution, or LTE, technology with E-Plus in Germany, Granstrom said.

--Editors: Simon Thiel, Robert Valpuesta.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cornelius Rahn in Frankfurt at crahn2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong in Berlin at kwong11@bloomberg.net


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