Apple and Samsung ultimately in gunsights
Chinese manufacturer ZTE is to step up production of smartphones to 35 million this year as it cements its position as the world’s fourth largest mobile phone company.
According to IDC, Shenzhen-based ZTE – formerly known as the Zhongxing Telecommunication Equipment Corporation – already holds the No.5 global slot as the fifth biggest maker of smartphones having shipped more than 13 million of the devices in the first six months of 2012.
Overall it sold 66.1 million mobile phones last year, securing a 4.3 per cent share of the world market, and is now gearing up to take an even bigger percentage of smartphone sales, particularly in the mid-range.
ZTE hopes to get a further boost in the current half of 2012 with the release of its quad-core, ultra-thin Grand Era smartphone, unveiled in Beijing yesterday [17th September 2012].
He Shiyou, executive vice-president of ZTE, says the ultimate aim of the fast-growing manufacturer is to challenge the dominance of Apple and Samsung in the smartphone arena and, wary of the ongoing patent rifts between the two leaders, is developing its own operating system.
“We will avoid relying too greatly on one single operating system,” he explained.
Despite shipping 8 million smartphones in Q2, ZTE still has a long way to go before it catches up with even Taiwanese rival HTC or Finnland’s Nokia, let alone Apple or Samsung.
Its biggest gains so far have been on home territory where it supplies inexpensive, entry-level smartphones to aspiring Chinese customers, though the US is also becoming a significant market where its phones tend to sell under other brands.
ZTE, formed in 1985 from a group of state-owned enterprises associated with China’s Ministry of Aerospace, currently has around 90,000 employees and also provides value-added services such as video on demand and streaming media.