China’s ZTE Plans To Unbox More High-End Phones This Year To Raise Revenue, Margins

China’s ZTE is planning to ship more high end smartphones this year in a bid to boost its profit margins and revenue. In an interview with Reuters, Lv Qianhao, head of ZTE’s handset strategy, told the news agency that making affordable phones has taken its toll on the company’s bottom line. “We would like to raise the percentage of mid- to high-range smartphones. That’s the direction we’re heading,” he said.

ZTE was the fifth largest global smartphone maker in Q4 2012, according to analyst IDC, taking a 4.3 per cent share of the global market — just behind Sony with 4.5 per cent and Huawei with 4.9 per cent. Samsung and Apple took slots one and two, with 29 per cent and 21.8 per cent marketshare respectively.

Reuters notes that ZTE’s narrow margins were a contributory factor to the company flagging a net loss of up to 2.9 billion yuan ($467 million) for 2012 last week.

Lv said ZTE expects to ship more than 50 million smartphones in 2013, exceeding an earlier forecast, and up on the 35 million smartphones it shipped last year. Smartphones made up 60 per cent of its overall consumer device sales in 2012, and ZTE believes it can raise that proportion to 70 per cent this year.

When it comes to tablets, ZTE said it has struggled to compete against rival slates made by Apple and Samsung. ZTE shipped just 560,000 tablet PCs last year — short of its goal of more than doubling sales to one million. Lv declined to give an estimate for this year, according to Reuters.