ZTE shipped its 100 millionth mobile handset in September 2008, and is now the sixth most-prolific manufacturer of mobile phones.

Global HQ: Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China Website:

Global leader: Hou Weigui, chairman

Core activity: Telecommunications equipment

Revenue: RMB34.77 billion (US$5.07 billion) (FY07 ended December)

Key customers: Vodafone, Telstra, Beijing 2008 Olympics

Employees: 48,261

The colossal size of China’s domestic market means it has developed a number of domestic mobile telephone and networking equipment manufacturers, whose local sales are so great they have achieved 1 or 2 per cent of global market share without gaining a global profile.

ZTE is one such company. After entering the mobile handset market in 2002, it celebrated the shipping of its 100 millionth such product in September 2008. Now rated as the planet’s sixth most-prolific manufacturer of mobile phones, the company has stated its goal of achieving top-five status. For such a placing, it will need to displace Motorola, LG or Sony Ericsson, a formidable achievement given that many of the phones it produces are not even marketed under the ZTE brand. Instead, the company has entered into many partnerships with carriers, who buy its phones in bulk and rebrand them under their own names. The company is now reportedly planning to market phones under its own name, while seeking to maintain growth rates that fell a whisker below 50 per cent for FY07, and also increasing the approximate 50 per cent share of revenue that handsets contribute to its revenue.

Many other products account for the remainder, with ZTE also offering carrier equipment, servers, storage arrays, business process outsourcing and network construction services. Interestingly, the company is targeting North Africa as a source of future growth. The ongoing deployment of 3G networks in China is also expected to provide opportunities. Simon Sharwood

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