ZTE are going out on its own. And it has big plans for the Aussie market which it entered this week.After years of supplying products to Telstra, Optus and other telco’s under the OEM platform the Chinese telecoms giant has decided to go it alone in the Australian consumer market.
“We want to promote our own brand,” said Scott Zhang, Managing Director ZTE Australia at the launch of its first ever smartphone sold here, the 5.5″ V969 for the super competitive price of $299, unlocked.
ZTE currently makes 80 products for Australian telco’s Telstra, Optus and iiNet including handsets, routers and other devices, as well as infrastructure. It has a particularly close relationship with Telstra and makes the telco’s own branded devices – Dave and Pulse mobiles and 4G Tablet.
It is among the top 10 world’s biggest phone makers, which are selling like hot cakes in its native China. To date, it has shipped over half a billion phones, globally.
The Shanghai-based giant are doing a ‘softly softly’ approach in the Australian consumer market, hence the launch of its first smartphone at Dick Smith stores, only.
The V969 went on sale this week, with very impressive specs including dual-Sim for the price of the 5.5″ device that runs a “vanilla” version of Android.
“It was an organic move to partner with Dick Smith,” said Megan Bootsma, ZTE Australia.
The company has a long history with the retailer, as well as wanting to take advantage of its huge store network. ZTE want to grow organically and “believe we have a big future in Australia,” says Zhang.
But it’s not just V969. There’s plenty more ZTE devices in the pipeline for Australia, with “a number in consideration,” Bootsma told CN.
ZTE have a comprehensive range of products and the advantage of moving to this market is the opportunity to launch Windows and other devices outright, like ‘Grand S’ – smartphones that carriers may not opt to sell.
No word on what other mobiles are planned but ZTE sells a number of devices globally and has their hands in a number of platform pies – it has launched several Windows devices and released the first ever Firefox Mozilla smartphone (its currently on the third generation model), as well as running its own version of Google Android.
It also makes Funbox which is flagged as ‘the worlds fastest home entertainment console.’
Although relatively unknown by consumers in Australia, the mobile giant has the resources to make a big impact here, and has come a long way since it was established in 1985 with 30 employees.
It is one of the globe’s fastest growing telecommunications providers – it now has 80,000 staff in 103 countries in which it operates. 20 years on, ZTE Australia was set up 2005 with offices in Melbourne and Sydney and launched Telstra’s first Next G product.
ZTE has a huge focus on innovation and their aim is to provide “cutting edge technology at affordable price” says Zhang. It has an innovation centre in Shenzhen region of China.
In 2011/12 it lodged more patent applications than any company, globally.
It makes smartphones at all price points – the Nubia Z5S mini (handset of China’s first lady) aimed at high end customer has gained notoriety and Numia X6 sold out in 9.8 seconds in China, while V969 ( known as a Grand xl 2) is at the mid tier.
ZTE’s Grand S 2 global flagship launched in 2014 sold 50,000 units in seconds at one single telco. In 2013, it launched the world’s slimmest phone at Mobile World Congress.
ZTE say it has one of the lowest device return rates, compared to other vendors, and does not compromise on quality despite the low prices.
It plans to launch a mystery new mobile here very soon, which will be open to more channels aside from Dick Smith. Brightstar is ZTE’s Australian distributor.
“We have other channels lined up,” says Bootsma.
It also has some interesting guerrilla marketing campaigns and sponsorship projects planned to promote the relatively unknown brand to consumers .
“We’ve been silently working for a number of years.”