4/2/2009 2:54:00 PM
Chinese manufacturer ZTE breaks into UK market with prepay device
Chinese manufacturer ZTE has released a touch-screen handset on T-Mobile in the UK, in what appears to be a concerted strategy to see more low-cost handsets in 2009.
The prepay ‘Vairy Touch’ device (also known as the ZTE X760) is on sale for £59.99 in Phones 4u and T-Mobile stores. It has a 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth and an FM radio.
ZTE will take on manufacturers such as Huawei, Acer and Asus, which are already gaining headway in the market as their bigger, more established competitors are affected by the difficult economic conditions.
The Chinese telecoms giant set up its UK operation in 2002, in a bid to target the European market with products such as optical transmission, video conferencing and 2G and 3G equipment.
ZTE made its first foray into the European handset market with the 3G F866 on 3 in December 2005, but has failed to make an impact since. The manufacturer had previously exported its WCDMA 3G handsets to the Asian and American markets, while ZTE 3G data cards had been sold to European markets.
Staff at Phones 4u said the Vairy Touch device (pictured) had not been selling particularly well so far. One staffer said: ‘It’s a touch-screen phone and it is cheap, but it is small and difficult to use.’
ZTE’s UK managing director, Kevin Y Qi, said: ‘Gartner has recently predicted that ZTE could break into the global top five of handset manufacturers by the end of 2009.’
ZTE’s president of western Europe operations, Lin Cheng, said it achieved double-digit revenue growth in 2009.
ZTE, which is state-controlled and has a Hong Kong listing, reported revenue of £4.5bn for 2008, up 27%, and a net income of £1.75bn, up 33%, by the end of 2008.