updated 11:00 pm EST, Tue January 17, 2012
ZTE sees US just as important as China in 2012
ZTE plans to double its smartphone numbers this year as it expands out of China, cellphone strategy head Lv Qianhao said in an interview Tuesday. Its motherland and the US would be the "key engines" for growth in 2012 as it focused on higher-end devices, he explained to Reuters. Best known for its budget Android phones, it was leaning towards the high end and just recently unveiled the Tania, its first Windows Phone.
How it would fully attack the US wasn't clear, although it has said it planned to have an American LTE smartphone in mid-2012 that could be the cornerstone of a more prominent American strategy. Usually, ZTE has kept itself to entry-level models or to smaller carriers that are usually denied top-tier devices otherwise. Boost Mobile, for example, picked up the Warp to make it one of the few small US carriers with a large-screen Android phone.
ZTE emerged from a swath of Chinese phone designers, including Huawei, to overtake Apple in absolute cellphone share, although not in smartphone share. The company followed a strategy similar to that of HTC, which started off contracted to make carrier-branded phones and eventually had enough confidence to set out on its own. One of its core Android phones, the Blade, has moved in the order of eight million worldwide by itself.
While Lv wouldn't share the company's secret, he may have given away that at least he is willing to own and use the competition where a pre-Elop Nokia and others often refused to use anyone else's hardware. Along with ZTE's own devices, the executive has an iPhone.