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ZTE handset sales expected to rise
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ZTE Corp's mobile phone sales will surge 60 percent year-on-year in 2008 and the world's sixth biggest handset maker aims to "significantly lift the portion" of sales with its own brands, the Shenzhen-based firm told Shanghai Daily today.


In 2007, the Shenzhen-listed firm sold 31.06 million phones globally and it expects to sell more than 50 million units this year, according to Gu Yongchen, general director of ZTE's corporate branding and communications department.


"We can achieve the target through deep cooperation with carriers and improved handset designs," Gu said at ZTE's booth during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the largest annual telecommunications industry gathering.


ZTE started handset business as a contract manufacturer and provided phones for the world's top carriers such as Vodafone and China Mobile.


ZTE aims to establish its brands in the middle and even high-end market from the entry-level segment now, industry insiders said.


Gu and his coworkers displayed the video communications functions of a ZTE-made 3G model, which is designed for 3 Italia, a 3G subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa. The model is also adopting design from Momodesign, an Italian design center.


"We will go to Italy (after the Barcelona show) to talk with our partners to add the ZTE logo on the model," Gu said.


In 2007, about 46 percent of ZTE's sold phones were with its brand (including co-brand) and the figure will surge in 2008, Gu told Shanghai Daily.


"With strong telecom background, ZTE is able to get more market shares through carriers' group purchase. The overseas growth and reputation will also lift the company's domestic sales in future (when 3G is available)," said Sandy Shen, an analyst at Gartner Inc, a US-base IT research firm.


Meanwhile, ZTE's GSM equipment sales jumped 315 percent year-on-year in 2007 and the CDMA equipment sales doubled last year, according to Xu Ming, vice president of wireless products management division.


The sales will continue to grow as the increasing demand among carriers with cross-broad business in emerging markets, like Vodafone and even China Mobile, which has acquired a carrier in Pakistan, Xu said.


(Shanghai Daily February 13, 2008)


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