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ZTE Lays Out US Wireless Gameplan

ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763)'s strategy for building a U.S. presence involves first being the most amenable partner it can to the region's wireless operators, in order to build its brand presence. Once that's accomplished, it will add direct-to-consumer sales to the mix.

ZTE USA CEO Lixin Cheng is spearheading the Chinese company's move to the U.S. with a three-part strategy, and he outlined it for Light Reading Mobile at Mobile World Congress.

First, the company is focusing on business-to-business sales by being the best possible ODM (original design manufacturer) partner to the wireless operators -- listening to them, investing in their resources and shortening the time to market for them, Cheng said.

As an example of this strategy in motion, the Chinese handset maker on Friday introduced the Fury, an Android device for Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) that'll cost users $20 on contract.

After ZTE gains operator trust, its B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) phase begins as the vendor intends to work with the wireless operators on the promotion and distribution of its "hero" devices to consumers. Cheng said this will go from 2012 to 2014.

As the final piece, ZTE will start to add a direct-to-consumer route into its sales mix in the U.S., but won't begin that pillar of the strategy until beyond 2014. Cheng explains the strategy starting at the 2:40 mark in the following video interview. Also, tune in around 7:30 to see why he, and his teenage daughter, think Windows Phone has some advantages over Android.



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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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