China's ZTE plans to strengthen its foothold in the European telecoms market by building closer cooperation with the leading operators. The company is hoping that growing relationships with these larger multinational service providers will introduce ZTE to more extensive opportunities.
Dai Shu, director of corporate branding and communications at ZTE, told the China Daily newspaper the company is aiming to steadily increase its market share in European countries. "Since European-based telecom operators are closely involved with more than half of the world's telecom network market, ZTE will benefit in the short and long run from cooperation with those multinational operators" he said.
The European market, according to Dai, is "more open and friendly to foreign telecom players" compared to the United States, where ZTE has run into resistance from politicians and the American administration over national security concerns, which ZTE denies are an issue.
Apart from closer relationships with the major operators, ZTE says it plans to shift its focus towards mid-level to high-end smartphones in an effort to reverse a decline in its gross profit margin. "We'll do more promotions for our mobile phones in Europe this year," Dai said, adding that ZTE will boost its advertising campaign due to many European consumers knowing little about the company.
The company says it has already made inroads with its entry-level Blade 880 smartphone, selling nearly 10 million since it was launched in the UK in late 2010. At Mobile World Congress in February ZTE made no pretense in its ambitions to become one of the top smartphone makers in the world with a high-end Android smartphone called the Era, a new phone running Android version 4.0, dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich. The company also announced a new Microsoft Windows Phone, the Orbit. ZTE said the Era will come to Europe in the second half of the year, but has been less specific on other models.
The third leg of ZTE's European strategy it to target government and enterprise businesses with its telecoms and IT solutions. Xu Ming, ZTE's vice president of wireless products, told China Daily that the company is looking to overseas markets to contribute more than 60 per cent of its total government and enterprise business sales by 2015.
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