ZTE overtakes Apple, grows even more

Chinese infrastructure giant and phonemaker ZTE has announced its revenue for the nine months up to 30 September is at US $9.32 billion. At the same time, a report from Strategy Analytics says ZTE has become the world’s 4th largest handset vendor, overtaking Apple.

Strategy Analytics’ Alex Spektor said in a statement that ZTE really was the star of the show, managing to nab five percent market share. He put the growth down to its cheap entry-level feature phones and Android smartphones.

ZTE’s $9.32 billion revenue for the first nine months is an increase of 26.5 percent based on the same time last year. The Chinese company – which is huge in its home territories – has been on an aggressive crusade to flood the world with its smartphones, expanding into Europe with its own branded handsets last year. 

Because of this, the net profit for parent company shareholders did drop 21.5 percent from last year. ZTE puts that down to “increased financial expenses” – which we presume means the warchest it has been spending like crazy to claw market share from the competition.

Terminal sales revenues increased 53.4 percent, it says, while telecoms software, services and other products grew 28 percent. It also reported 15 percent boost in carrier network revenue, in turn helping along with selling ZTE’s wireline, optical communication systems, international CDMA system equipment and GSM/UMTS system equipment in China.

It thinks TD-LTE’s increasing popularity will further bolster its revenues, as it flogs the necessary equipment everywhere that wants it – including new partnerships with Sweden, Japan, India and Saudi Arabia. 

In 2012, ZTE expects to continue doing what it’s doing, while expanding and upgrading wireless networks across the world. It says it wants to explore other opportunities in the ICT market, without saying just what, and in smart terminals. Reassuring investors, it said it will try to get its head around a positive balance between scale and profit while still growing.

Crucially, it has employed Professor Green, the grime-pop UK artist, to leverage its brand on a tour. A ZTE spokesperson denied that there were any other candidates for ZTE’s sponsorship.

They told TechEye: “There were no others, Professor Green was our first choice since ZTE mobile phones and Professor Green are both currently breaking into the mainstream UK market and stand for the same qualities: vibrant, energetic and extremely talented.”

ZTE will be giving away tickets to a small Professor Green show in London through its presence on the web in social media. 

The Hackney-born rapper had this to say of ZTE: “Sponsorship is a reality of today’s music industry – the key is to make sure you partner with the right people. ZTE are up-and-coming and innovative so this relationship is really exciting for me.”

ZTE exec Wu Sa, who we did not have down as a fan, said “Professor Green is attaching kudos and relevance to ZTE as we drive our brand to a social networking driven youth market”.

ZTE’s UK marketing team says it starts the day with a Professor Green song every morning.