Huawei and ZTE bolster branding to boost smartphone sales

Leading mainland manufacturers to embark on branding campaigns in an attempt to capture bigger slice of high-end market worldwide

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 February, 2013, 5:23am

China's two biggest telecommunications equipment manufacturers will step up the branding campaigns for their smartphones this year to help expand sales worldwide.

Huawei Technologies and ZTE separately announced their initiatives before the opening yesterday of the annual Mobile World Congress, the largest exhibition for the mobile communications industry. The four-day event in Barcelona ends on Thursday.

The market research firm IDC ranked Huawei the world's third-largest supplier of smartphones in the fourth quarter of last year with a 4.9 per cent share, while ZTE was fifth with 4.3 per cent. Samsung Electronics and Apple dominated the market with a combined 50.8 per cent share. Sony took the fourth spot with 4.5 per cent.

Huawei Device, part of the consumer business division of privately held Huawei, introduced its "Make It Possible" international campaign in support of the latest models of its Ascend smartphone. Richard Yu, the chief executive of Huawei's consumer business group, said: "This gives us strong momentum to focus our efforts to be a leading smartphone brand in the coming years."

Shenzhen-based Huawei, which operates in more than 140 countries, also launched what it says is "the world's fastest smartphone", the Ascend P2, to stake its claim in the same high-end market segment dominated by Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S line.

A slim 4G mobile handset, the Ascend P2 features a 4.7-inch touch screen, a 1.5-gigahertz, quad-core processor and internet download speeds of up to 150 megabits per second. The Ascend P2 will initially release through new 4G network operator Orange France in June. High-speed 4G mobile networks have theoretical download speeds of up to 100mbps, while today's fastest 3G networks support up to 42mbps.

Hong Kong-listed ZTE predicted that revenue from smartphones this year would rise 30 per cent and ensure that the firm will remain one of the world's top four mobile phone suppliers.

Executive vice-president He Shiyou, the head of the company's mobile devices division, said: "We know our future success means we have to build the ZTE brand. 2013 is the final year of our three-year transformation into a high-end smartphone brand."

We know our future success means we have to build the ZTE brand

ZTE expected to ship 50 million smartphones, up from 35 million units last year. IDC estimated that ZTE had a 3.7 per cent global share of the total mobile phone market last year to rank fourth behind Samsung, Nokia and Apple.

Research firm IHS iSuppli said global smartphone shipments this year would rise to 834 million units, from 655 million last year.