ZTE Hits the UK High Street

6:50 AM -- Not to be outdone by its national rival Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , Chinese vendor ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) revealed that it too has ambitions to become a well-known retail brand for handsets and tablets in the U.K. (See Huawei Ups UK Spending Plan and Huawei to Hire 500 in UK.)

At a press event Wednesday night at the "cool" Icebar London (see pic below), ZTE announced a handset distribution deal with Brightpoint Inc. that will see the Chinese vendor's own-branded devices sold in British high street stores for the first time.

The deal marks a strategic shift from selling white-label or dual-branded devices to operators. Wu Sa, ZTE's director of mobile device operations in the U.K., stated at the launch that the company is "stepping out of the shadows and into the spotlight."

The company also announced last night that it will ship its Android-based Skate smartphone into the U.K. in the fourth quarter of this year.

ZTE's Wu said that smartphones are expected to outnumber feature phones in the U.K. around this time next year and, for its part, ZTE aims to make "feature-rich and affordable smartphones a mass market reality" in the country.

Globally, ZTE plans to ship 80 million devices in 2011, up from 60 million last year. (See Devices Drive ZTE in Q1.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

stelabokun 12/5/2012 | 4:59:22 PM
re: ZTE Hits the UK High Street

Allying closely with Brightpoint reminds a bit of some other OEMs paths from several yrs ago (check HTC for example). While targeting a much less affluent clientele than HTC, ZTE is also sending the message to MNOs that it’s planning to sit on “n” many chairs and lower its dependence on them /the operators/. Emerging vendors tend to recruit their top executives from the well-established OEMs, so I am not surprised that pieces of strategy are copy-pasted across the handset space.

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