ZTE – The Rising Contender of Smartphone Manuf...

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ZTE – The Rising Contender of Smartphone Manufacturers


After overcoming a host of problems ranging from patent disputes to fragmentation of its OS over different mobile devices, the Android platform has risen to become the undisputed leader in the smartphone OS share worldwide. Over 136 million Android-based smartphones were sold across the world in Q3 2012, increasing Android’s smartphone OS market share to 75%. So far, the race for smartphone manufacturer market share has been dominated by Samsung (31.3%), followed by Apple (15.0%) and RIM (4.3%). However, a new contender in the form of ZTE recently blitzed its way up the rankings and overtook HTC (4.0%), finishing hot on the heels of RIM.

ZTE has now become the 4th largest smartphone manufacturer in the world as of Q3 2012. According to the Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, it was announced that ZTE shipped 7.5 million units in Q3 2012, trailing RIM’s market share by merely 0.1%. The report statistics revealed that ZTE’s improved success in gaining market share can be attributed to the company’s sustained diversification efforts internationally.


In 2010, ZTE had announced its plans to step up and make U.S. its biggest market for smartphones and tablets by 2015, more than its home market in China. The smartphone shipment numbers for the year 2011 crossed over 15 million units, making an increase of 400% in sales margin over 2010. It established ZTE as the fastest growing smartphone manufacturer behind Apple.

Another significant contributing factor to ZTE’s success with carriers worldwide is the wide variety of mid-range smartphones offered by them. Many emerging markets seeking a more economic smartphone option can now choose from this range of devices. Although China has always been ZTE’s market stronghold, ZTE has now managed to increment its overall smartphone shipments in leading international markets like the U.S. by over 35%

ZTE’s development strategy is based on accentuating the expansion of ‘smart’ devices and regularly investing more funds in their research-and-development wing for ‘smart’ devices. An increased focus on structuring worldwide distribution channels and a reinvigorated global marketing campaign is also part of their plans to expand globally.

ZTE’s flagship Grand series smartphones have helped boost sales considerably. Offering both 3G and LTE devices, the Grand series include best-selling ZTE smartphones like the quad-core Grand Era, Intel-powered Grand X, and the dual core Grand X. ZTE is also the manufacturer of the Grand Era U985, the world’s slimmest quad-core Smartphone.
With RIM’s BlackBerry 10 and the new Windows Phone 8 smartphone series on the horizon (ZTE do not have any Windows Phone 8-ready device), the competition for global smartphone market share is bound to heat up significantly, especially for third place. The race for top two positions will be a big challenge for ZTE, as Apple and Samsung lead the rest of the competition by a wide margin. But with ZTE currently expecting to ship over 50 million smartphones in the year 2013 and surpassing its 2012 projected sales of 35 million, the future certainly looks bright for this smartphone manufacturer.

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