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ZTE reveals own brand handset plan

The ZTE Skate own-brand Android handset

Chinese manufacturer ZTE, which, as a white label handset vendor is pretty much unknown outside of the industry, is stepping out of the shadows and pushing its own brand. Through a deal with distributor Brightpoint, ZTE will have its own-label handsets on UK shelves later this year.

ZTE’s white label strategy and its adoption of the Android platform has resulted in the firm becoming the world’s sixth largest provider of mobile devices as of the first quarter of this year. According to stats from Gartner, ZTE just edged out HTC with 2.3 per cent market share in 1Q11, compared to HTC’s 2.2 per cent, putting it hot on the heels of RIM.

A similar strategy worked out well for HTC, which also started out in the white label business and backed the Android OS. With a focus on own-brand smartphones, ZTE said it expects to ship more than 80 million handsets this year, up from 60 million units in 2010.

Wu Sa, director of mobile device operations, ZTE UK, said: “ZTE made a commitment at the start of 2011 to alter its strategy from being a feature phone-centric supplier to producing much higher-end smartphones and delivering an enhanced user experience to the mass market. We are working closely with Brightpoint to launch smartphones into the UK market this year. We expect ZTE to become a household name synonymous with high quality smartphones and tablets.”

John Delaney, research director for Consumer Mobile with industry analyst IDC, added that while the focus in smartphones tends to be concentrated on the software platform, some of the Asian vendors are reminding the industry that the hardware brand, too, can still be a powerful driver for success in the smartphone market.

Indeed, five of the top ten handset vendors are based in Asia: Samsung, LG, ZTE, HTC, and Huawei; or six if you count Japanese-Swedish venture Sony Ericsson.

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