ZTE to boost advance researches to tap high-end markets

15:49, November 20, 2009      

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China's telecom equipment and device manufacturer ZTE Corporation plans to set up a new department tasked with boosting medium to long-term forward looking researches, a senior manager said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

The move was in line with the change in ZTE's status "from largely a follower-competitor in the international market to an industry leader," Vice President for Wireless Technology and Strategy Donglin Shen said.

It is also expected to help meet the needs for enhanced communication in exploring the developed markets like the United States, he added.

The company currently has a department for advance researches, but it has been mainly tasked with short-term advance researches. The planned new department, in comparison, will carry out forward-looking studies on medium and long-term trends.

Established in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, ZTE has quickly grown over the years to become one of the leading suppliers of telecom network equipment, handsets and provider of solutions and services worldwide, particularly in the developing markets. The private-owned company was listed in Shenzhen in 1997 and in Hong Kong in 2004.

The company boosts an annual revenue of 44.3 billion yuan (6.5 billion U.S. dollars) in 2008, with about 60 percent contributed by its overseas operations.

The company has been trying to establish itself as an international brand. It is one of the market leaders in the emerging markets and some fields, but a runner-up generally in the developed markets, including the United States and Europe.

More resources will be devoted to advance researches, Shen said.

Rising Chinese mainland players in the telecom industry like ZTE are behind established leaders headquartered in the developed countries in terms of the technological base, but enjoy advantages in costs of engineering, research and development, and ability to provide quick customized products and services.

The Chinese firms still have weaknesses in communication with customers - a must in the developed markets -- so as to know what they want. Their advance researches were behind established industry leaders, too, Shen said.

Nevertheless, the Chinese mainland players enjoy promising prospects, and they have been growing as competitors dropped out amid the international financial crisis.

They might have better chances with the deployment of the 3G and 4G networks, said Shen, who has been based in North America and previously worked for a local firm.

Shen said he expected ZTE to be one of the established leading brands in five years from now, and a definite leader in the industry in ten years.

The handset manufacturing operations of ZTE have been expandingrapidly over the past two years. The line of mobile phones it offered now cover basic phones, feature phones, 3G phones and the state-of-the-art smart phones.

Shen showed a customized phone ordered by a Spanish carrier that carries the logo on the back cover of the handset. The company will next roll out a smart phone using the Android operating system to gain a larger share of the high-end market, he said.

Shen said ZTE was now mainly providing customized handsets for mobile carriers worldwide, and with the rise of ZTE, more and more partner carriers have agreed to carry the manufacturer's logo, typically on the back cover.

By partnering with carriers, ZTE has been able to avoid the large investment in marketing like other established brands, Shen said.

It is also helpful to earn credit by letting the carriers carry the ZTE logo on the phones they ordered, Shen said, adding that other operations of ZTE may also benefit from the brand awareness built this way.

Source: Xinhua
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