VIDEO INTERVIEW: Reflecting on US resistance to Chinese suppliers, Lixin Cheng – president of ZTE’s US business – said “different companies have different issues” and that ZTE should be looked upon favourably.
In what appeared to be a sideswipe at Chinese rival Huawei, Cheng, in conversation with Mobile World Live, emphasised that ZTE was a publicly traded company with a “transparent ownership and governance structure”. Huawei, of course, is not listed.
Cheng pointed out that 18 per cent of ZTE equity is held by western investors, including Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley. “ZTE has always been transparent and open,” he added.
Getting a toehold in the US device market, rather than networks, may well be easier for Chinese firms. ZTE’s mobile devices, for example, use Google’s operating system and the chipsets are mostly from US companies. “There is no concern about security,” said Cheng.
Cheng concedes, however, that ZTE has needed to work hard in gaining the confidence of US mobile operators. Part of that process has been establishing a strong local presence. Of ZTE’s employees in the US, 85 per cent are hired locally. The Chinese firm also has five R&D centres in the US.
“We’re proud that ZTE phones are mostly designed in the US,” said Cheng.