The value of contract sales at telecommunications equipment maker ZTE rose 49.96 per cent last year, and the company plans to keep the momentum going by concentrating efforts on mobile phones and overseas markets. The mainland's second-largest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment yesterday said contract sales for last year soared to 25.19 billion yuan. Within this total, handset business grew 66.3 per cent to 4.82 billion yuan, while overseas contracts from 13 countries were worth 5.02 billion yuan. 'Contract sales at ZTE saw a compound average growth rate of 34.1 per cent during the past three years,' the Shenzhen-listed company said. Recent major contracts include a 334.33 million yuan deal to supply CDMA equipment to the Yunnan branch of China Unicom and a 266.36 million yuan order from its Guizhou operations. ZTE also secured a 245.66 million yuan contract to supply xiaolingtong equipment to Shandong Communications. In October, the company reported that its net profit soared 72.4 per cent to 295.49 million yuan for the first nine months of last year. Sales revenue surged 59.4 per cent to 9.79 billion yuan. According to the Ministry of Information Industry, mainland telecommunications operators increased investment 24.2 per cent year on year in the first 10 months of last year, bringing capital spending to 142.05 billion yuan. 'International markets and handset sales will be our driving engines in 2004,' ZTE said. It is scheduled to report full-year results on March 2. The company's strong growth comes amid heavy spending in the mainland information technology industry. International Data Corp estimated the mainland IT market would grow 18 per cent this year to US$29.4 billion and account for 35 per cent of the Asia-Pacific market excluding Japan.