ZTE declares smartphone war on Apple and Samsung

So where does Xiaomi sit in with the cheap handset vendor’s go-to-market strategy?

If you own a Samsung smartphone or an iPhone, watch out. ZTE’s planning on taking those units straight out of your hands and replacing them with its own smartphones.

At a press event in Bali, ZTE’s CIS handset business unit president, Jacky Zhang, said the time is ripe and after being in operation for more than 16 years, the company is ready to establish itself in the retail market, especially within Asia-Pacific.

Launching the three smartphones is part of ZTE’s efforts to strengthen its presence and become one of the most favourite smartphone brands in the South East Asian region,” he said. Indonesia will lead the pack as the first country to offer these smartphones.

But to hit its target of shipping at least 60 million smartphones in 2014, ZTE’s taking on the big guns of the smartphone industry. According to ZTE, Apple’s following is a cult that’s harder to convert but with Samsung taking hold of 30 per cent of the smartphone industry, that’s the pie that ZTE wants to have a share in.

Standing taller above the rest

“In terms of product and cost, our offering is better than Samsung. I don’t think we can beat them in such a short time, but we can catch up, at least in the next two to three years,” ZTE mobile terminal general manager, Ni Fei, claimed.

But if we consider specs and its price point, ZTE’s biggest competition comes from fellow affordable handset vendors, Xiaomi and Huawei. The latter has attempted to promote its cost-friendly smartphones in South East Asian sphere for the last three years, but Xiaomi has been the dominant force thus far.

However, ZTE doesn’t think it’s on a level playing field with Xiaomi as it’s got a presence in more than 150 countries, while Xiaomi has etched itself to just a few. Furthermore, ZTE targets specific groups of users, while Xiaomi’s is more of a one-size-fits-all model.

Outside of Indonesia, specifically Singapore, you can expect ZTE to soon engage in some form of co-branding (it’s being mum about with whom) as well as “copy some of Xiaomi’s go-to-market strategies”, according to Fei. 

READ MORE: ZTE's mobile goes modular

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