Chinese handset-vendor ZTE says its decision to begin shipping smartphones based on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system will enable it to close the gap on rivals such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson in the high-end handset market. In an interview with South China Morning Post, Xiong Hui, ZTE’s vice-president of its handset business, said the firm would begin shipping the Windows Mobile smartphones to Vodafone next year. “ZTE initially focused on providing cheaper mid- and low-tier mobile phones in the domestic and overseas markets,” Xiong said. “We are now providing more than 10 models of mobile telephones for the high-end market.”
According to the report, ZTE – currently the world’s sixth-largest handset vendor in terms of global sales – aims to ship 50 million handsets this year and double its annual shipments in the next five years to 100 million units, which could make it the world’s third-largest vendor. “The key factor to reach the 100 million shipment is customisation with mobile operators,” said He Shiyou, ZTE executive vice-president, citing the example of Japanese handset market leader Sharp, which reportedly has around 90 percent of its phones customised for local operators. A separate report by India’s Business Standard this week claimed ZTE was looking to launch handsets in the country using its own brand – a change from its usual strategy of developing phones that are branded by operators.