Rumour mill: Has ZTE been overstating its overseas successes?

Having only just announced significant deals with Portugal's Optimus and Hungary's Pannon, a former ZTE employee has accused the company of exaggerating the volume of orders it has gained outside of China.

According to the ex-employee, the company's biggest rival in the international market is Huawei Technologies, and not the likes of Ericsson, NSN or Alca-Lu. The individual claimed that ZTE and Huawei engaged in vicious price wars in an attempt to win overseas infrastructure contracts, resulting in a significant erosion of profit margins.

The source--and there was no information if this individual was Chinese or not--also claimed that this intense competition had the support of Chinese officials: "Had it not been for the close connection with the Chinese government, ZTE would have been swallowed up by Hauwei Technologies," said the former insider.

ZTE has attempted to become a force in the European marketplace partly by working to customise the company's handsets to meet the particular requirements of each operator. It also claims to have cornered the market in 3G dongles with sales increasing over 250 per cent from 2008 to 2009.

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