ZTE to launch two ‘phablets’ in 2012

Chinese handset maker ZTE said it could ship 100 million smartphones a year by 2015, Reuters reported on Monday. The company sold 15 million phones in 2011 and is looking to sell upwards of 50 million this year. “As handsets contribute more to overall revenue, it will affect our profit margins,” executive director He Shiyou said. “In 2012, our aim is to increase handset margins.” Following the success of Samsung’s Galaxy Note, ZTE will release two smartphone-tablet hybrids — affectionately referred to as “phablets” — in 2012. “We want to come up with the next generation of a Galaxy Note-type product — a combo product of handsets and tablets,” Lv Qianhao, ZTE’s head of handset strategy, said. ZTE has previously focuses on the low-end market, though recently it has made a push to compete on the same level as Samsung and Apple. Unlike many of its competitors, however, ZTE may face problems and set backs due to its lack of brand awareness. “People who buy Apple and Samsung have greater brand awareness so they might not take chances with a little-known brand, especially one from China,” said Teck-Zhung Wong, a Beijing-based analyst for research firm IDC. “No one really knows ZTE outside China.”

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