ZTE sets 80M handset shipment target for 2011

Chinese vendor ZTE said it expects to ship more than 80 million handsets by year-end, a marked increase over last year. The company aims to rely heavily on sales of smartphones to get to its goal.

ZTE Blade

ZTE Blade

The company made the announcement as part of a separate bit of news trumpeting 2 million unit sales of its Blade smartphone, which runs Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform. The Blade was first launched in the United Kingdom in the second half of 2010, and is now available in over 30 countries and regions, including Finland, France, Greece, Japan, Spain, Poland and Turkey. ZTE does not sell the device in the United States.

ZTE's goal of topping 80 million unit shipments for the year could put it among the top three global handset vendors, in terms of volumes. According to research firm IDC, ZTE had 51.8 million unit shipments in 2010, giving the company the No. 4 global slot. However, for the past two quarters, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and ZTE have been jockeying with each other in the global handset rankings, with the iPhone maker pushing ZTE down to the No. 5 spot in the first quarter.

ZTE said earlier this year it expects its smartphone shipments this year to quadruple from 3 million units to 12 million. ZTE has so far relied on Android to power its smartphone growth, but also will release devices running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 7 in Europe later this year. The company expects to bring Windows Phone devices to the United States early next year. 

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