ZTE says 4G phones will drive growth
Chinese smartphone maker ZTE said the fourth generation network (4G) will be its main growth driver this year following Beijing's approval late last year for the country's three leading telecom operators to roll out 4G services based on a mainland-developed network standard.
"China Mobile's first phase of 4G network construction included 200,000 base stations, for which ZTE took the largest market share," senior vice president Zhang Renjun said. "The second phase includes 300,000 base stations, which will be built in 2014." Zhang did not say how many stations will be built by ZTE.
"When the network grows to a certain scale, the price of handsets will become lower, the price of the whole system will be lower. That is good for the 4G industry and will continue to promote its development," he added.
Zhang forecast that 4G terminals available to users will increase by 10 times this year. He expected global investment in 4G to reach US$100 billion in 2014.
The Shenzhen-headquartered ZTE shipped around 40 million smartphones last year, below the target of 50 million units. It aims to ship 60 million smartphones this year, according to Zhang, who is in charge of operations in the Asia Pacific region and Russia.
Zhang said ZTE's mainstream smartphones cost between US$100 and US$200, but the company is trying for a bigger piece of the high-end market.
ZTE is trying to raise the awareness of its brand overseas. It signed a sponsorship deal with the Houston Rockets basketball team in the US last year and is targeting a US market share of 10 per cent by 2017, up from 6 per cent last year.