ZTE Embarks on Indian Charm Offensive

NEW DELHI -- Following in the footsteps of its archrival, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) today said members of its senior management team have met with officials from India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and will meet with the Ministry of Home Affairs in an effort to resolve the current issues surrounding the procurement of Chinese network equipment by the country's telecom operators. (See Huawei Seeks Talks Over Indian Lockdown and India's DoT Denies Blanket Ban on Chinese Gear.)

The company is also trying to meet the Union Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, in a bid to assuage Indian government officials that the deployment of Chinese technology does not pose a security threat to India.

"We have met DoT officials and [will] be meeting senior officials from the Home Ministry, and we are trying to meet the Home Minister as well," stated Dr. D.K. Ghosh, chairman of ZTE India, at a press conference here today, which was also attended by ZTE CEO Huang Dabin and executive VP Qingfeng Fan.

The company is also considering building a new manufacturing unit in India. It already has a small plant at Manesar, near New Delhi, and today announced a new Indian Engineering Center (IEC) to add to the National Network Operation Center (NNOC) it recently announced. (See ZTE India Expands Tech Center.)

"We are exploring and examining various options to have our manufacturing unit in India, and we will announce the plan soon," said Dr. Ghosh.

Setting up a manufacturing facility would certainly help ZTE's cause -- the DoT has previously stated that equipment manufactured in India will not require a security check. For the same reason, Huawei is also considering building an equipment production facility in India.

Dr. Ghosh stressed that ZTE has not received any direct communication from the Indian government regarding security concerns, but instead has learned about such issues from the operators that have had orders for ZTE equipment blocked by the DoT.

On a lighter note, when asked whether ZTE and Huawei would put up a joint front to sort out the security issue, Dr. Ghosh said they don't believe in "ganging up."

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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