ZTE expects to ship 35 million smartphones this year; they did 15 million in 2011

ZTE, the Chinese handset maker that many people confuse with Huawei, shipped 15 million smartphones in 2011. This year the company plans to more than double that to 35 million smartphones, at least that’s what Ryu Chienhao (pictured above) hopes will happen. He’s the guy in charge of ZTE’s mobile phone strategy. In an interview with the Japanese website Plus D, he says that ZTE is on track to become the third largest mobile phone maker by 2015. That’s just three years away. According to the analysts at IDC, ZTE is currently the world’s fourth largest handset vendor with 4.8% market share. Who’s in third place? Apple, with 8.8%. You have to remember, this is the whole phone market, not just smartphones.

So how will ZTE get to the 35 million mark? Consider this: How many of the phones that your operator currently has in stock would you classify as a feature phone? Depending on where you are that answer is either in the low single digits or perhaps even zero. That alone will give ZTE a big boost, but the company is also stepping up their efforts to introduce premium devices. You’ll start seeing ZTE “Grand” smartphones in Europe and Asia during the third quarter of this year. Whether or not they’re any good remains to be seen.

Who stands in ZTE’s way? We mentioned them earlier in this piece: Huawei. They’re one of the world’s leading infrastructure vendors and they’ve been aggressively targeting the budget smartphone space. For 100 EUR they’ll sell you a smartphone that Samsung sells for 30 EUR to 50 EUR more. Samsung, like Nokia, is betting that people will pay more for their brand. That may be the case in some countries, but definitely not in places where people barely get by.

We wish ZTE luck, though at the same time we’re a bit hesitant to recommend any of their products. The old saying “you get what you pay for” describes their handsets perfectly.

[Via: Unwired View]

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