ZTE makes bigger push into smartphone market

Chinese company hopes to increase smartphone sales in 2011 by five times

China's ZTE, which has made big gains in mobile phone market, aims to boost its smartphone sales in 2011 by five times.

The company is targeting a shipments of 10 million units, an increase from the 2 million units sold in 2010, the company said.

ZTE, a Chinese network equipment supplier, is also a global manufacturer of handsets for mobile carriers. In the fourth quarter of 2010, ZTE finished as the fourth largest mobile phone vendor with a 4.2 percent market share, putting it ahead of Apple's 4 percent share, according to research firm IDC. Nokia, Samsung and LG Electronics lead as the top three.

During 2010, ZTE shipped a total of 51.8 million handset units, an increase of 94 percent from the previous year. The company's recent success was due to its rapidly expanding smartphone line, even as the company has historically focused on the lower and middle-end markets, IDC added in a report.

On Monday, ZTE announced a new strategy for smartphones at the Mobile World Congress. The strategy focuses on the middle and high-end markets, with the goal of developing more smartphone, tablet and Internet TV box devices.

The company also showed off a new low-cost smartphone at the event. Called the Skate, the device has a 4.3-inch screen and uses the Android 2.3 operating system. ZTE said it will start shipping the smartphone globally in May. The company also announced plans to launch a tablet running Android 3.0 in the third quarter.

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Tags consumer electronicsPhonessmartphonesZTE

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