ZTE CEO Zhao Xianming (pictured below) said the company is entering a new phase as the US government prepares to remove it from a trade blacklist.
In a statement, Zhao said ZTE is “turning the page on a challenging chapter in our past and is optimistic of our future,” as the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security moves to take the vendor’s name off a list of blocked companies following ZTE’s admission of guilt for violating sanctions on Iran.
“By acknowledging the mistakes we made, taking responsibility for them, and remaining focused on enacting positive change in our company, we are committed to a ZTE that is fully compliant, healthy and trustworthy,” Zhao added.
In a settlement with the US Justice, Commerce and Treasury departments announced earlier in the month, ZTE admitted it breached US trade laws and agreed to pay a criminal and civil penalty of $892 million, and an additional $300 million, which was suspended for seven years on condition the company complies with the agreement.
The US slapped trade sanctions on the Chinese smartphone maker in March 2016 following allegations it breached the country’s export rules covering Iran. The government said it would ban US exports to ZTE, but suspended the block several times. Its final reprieve expired last month.
Following the sanctions, ZTE created a new compliance committee to oversee changes in policies and procedures, and replaced three of its most senior executives. It also appointed a new US based export compliance officer.
Zhao said the settlement, coupled with recent efforts to streamline operations and grow its leadership around 5G, means ZTE anticipates “growth and business expansion over the next several years as we continue to work with our partners in the US and around the world”.
ZTE last week confirmed it slipped to a net loss of CNY2.36 billion ($343 million) in 2016 related to fines due over the issue.