ZTE’s US chief claims the firm faces prejudice in the country due to its roots, which is limiting its growth in the market.
Lixin Cheng believes government officials have held the firm back by classifying it in the same category as larger rival Huawei, which has attracted scrutiny in the country due to its links to the Chinese military.
“Because of miscommunications and misperceptions of politicians in the US, we believe that ZTE is not being treated fairly in this marketplace,” Cheng told Bloomberg.
Chinese telecommunications companies are being regarded with suspicion by the US China Economic and Security Review Commission, an independent 12-member panel that advises Congress, the news site said.
A report by the commission labels ZTE a ‘quiet giant’ that supplied handsets to Western companies on an OEM basis, and hinted at security issues associated with the manufacture of wireless devices by Huawei and ZTE.
The report further said Huawei and ZTE had been getting financial assistance from the Chinese government, which enabled them to offer the attractive prices the firms are known for.
Cheng said Huawei and ZTE should not be thought of interchangeably. ZTE USA disclosed its financials regularly and was audited by Ernst and Young, unlike Huawei, he said. Cheng added ZTE USA hired more than 80% of its staff from within the US.
“No matter where you come from as a person, if you act locally and follow the law here, you have an equal opportunity to become successful.” Cheng said. “That’s what ZTE wants.”
ZTE has plans to release smartphones and tablets into the United States this year. The company reported a 300% increase in sales to United States carriers last year.