Chinese device maker Nubia – owned by ZTE but operated as an independent entity targeting the mid- to high-end smartphone market – said it wants to expand its foothold in “lucrative” European markets through “premium product positioning” while targeting tech-savvy millennials in Latin America.

This builds on an announcement in January when the company said it is “preparing an aggressive smartphone push into more emerging countries in 2016.”

For starters, consumers in Mexico, Argentina, Russia, Spain and Germany will “soon” be able to purchase its latest devices in their domestic markets, including the Z11 mini, Z9 mini and Z9 Max.

It explained it wants to tap into the Mexican market because the country’s 4G infrastructure development and growth in e-commerce has created a market of 96 million smartphone users, who purchase roughly 30 million new devices each year.

Argentina, too, has “great potential” as international smartphone brands represent 90 per cent of market share in the country.

European plans
Meanwhile in Europe, Nubia wants to increase its foothold in three mature markets, Russia, Germany and Spain, by introducing “premium smartphones” with “upscale specifications”.

It believes its portfolio of over 3,500 patents will be instrumental in setting itself a foundation in the European marketplace.

In Russia, Chinese smartphone brands are popular, argues Nubia, representing at least a third of Russia’s market share.

Germany is deemed by the company to be an attractive market as it is “the largest national economy” in Europe. As for Spain, 4G smartphone sales are estimated to reach 9.5 million by the end of the year.

Nubia doesn’t want to stop there, though. It wants to expand into other European markets, such as France, Italy, Poland and Turkey, as well as Southeast Asian countries, like India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

While this list of countries is an expansion of the original markets mentioned in the January statement, it’s interesting to note that today’s news makes no reference to earlier plans to launch a new online store across its targeted regions of growth.

Back in January, Suning Rundoing, which is a 33 per cent shareholder, invested $297 million in Nubia.

Nubia said the two companies are now focusing on rapid global expansion and brand awareness, with sports as the key focus of their marketing efforts.

As part of this, Suning bought a 70 percent stake in the Italian football club Inter Milan, and Nubia is also already a sponsor of the Chinese team, JiangSu Suning FC.

And limited editions of the Z11 mini and Z11 Max have been recently made available in China, featuring a special design dedicated to football player Cristiano Ronaldo, its newly appointed brand ambassador.

The Z11 Max, which targets media-heavy users, was unveiled earlier this month.