Bloomberg News

ZTE to Sell Tablet in U.S. Next Year to Challenge Apple, Amazon

November 09, 2011

Nov. 9 (Bloomberg) -- ZTE Corp., China’s second-biggest maker of mobile-phone equipment, said it will introduce a tablet computer in the U.S. next year, challenging Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.

The tablet will be sold through a U.S. phone company, Lixin Cheng, head of ZTE’s U.S. unit, said today in an interview. He declined to give a price, describe the model or name the carrier.

The company, known for lower-cost devices, will face rivals such as Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire, which will start selling this month, and Apple’s market-leading iPad, which starts at $499. ZTE said this week the U.S. will become its biggest market for tablets and phones by 2015 on rising demand for cheaper devices.

“We’ll put out the latest technology for an affordable price,” Cheng said. “The tablet we are going to launch is going to be on par with other products in the marketplace. We’ll try to get it into everybody’s hands.”

ZTE, based in Shenzhen, China, already sells smartphones, feature phones, modems and other devices in the U.S., and has agreements with U.S. carriers including AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA. It’s been gaining market traction, and has more than twice as many models in the market this year than in 2010, Cheng said.

Outside the U.S., the company has introduced tablets that run on Google Inc.’s Android software, which is also used in the Kindle Fire and Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy Tab. Android tablets accounted for 27 percent of tablets shipped worldwide in the second quarter, according to Framingham, Massachusetts-based research firm IDC. The iPad dominated with 68 percent.

“We want to be very successful in the United States,” Cheng said.

--Editors: Ville Heiskanen, John Lear

To contact the reporter on this story: Olga Kharif in Portland, Oregon, at okharif@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Thomas Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net:


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