ZTE predicts smartphone sales of 80 million this year

ZTE’s Blade touch-screen handset has racked up sales in excess of two million, making it one of the best-selling smartphones globally. The device, which was first sold in the UK in 2010 under the brand “San Francisco” by carrier Orange, is sold in 30 regions, with ZTE saying it has “successfully penetrated Japan and Finland, the home markets of major ZTE competitors.” The uptick in sales for the Chinese manufacturer comes on the back of its announcement of projected sales of 80 million devices this year, up from 60 million in 2010.

Keen to further its credentials in the popularity stakes, ZTE claims that the Blade’s popularity “actually exceeded that of the iPhone 4 in the UK at one stage in early 2011,” adding that the device had been “promoted aggressively” through special offer pricing in Orange’s retail outlets over the Christmas holiday period. The strategy apparently paid off, with the device becoming Orange’s top seller during that time, aimed as it was at the more budget-conscious sector of the UK market.

ZTE has reported strong sales of the handset in Japan, where a last-minute requirement from operator Softbank to ship the Blade (known there as the “Softbank Venus”) with Android 2.2 is credited with its healthy performance in the market.

ZTE has said it will use its international success to strengthen its smart terminal product line offerings in China, where it has customised its ZTE V880 device for China Unicom’s WCDMA network. The Blade has also been customised: for China Telecom’s CDMA EVDO network and China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA network, where it will be launched in the next few months.

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