ZTE sees big growth in enterprise network business in coming years

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Chinese equipment maker aiming to add 100 channel partners in 15 key markets by end of 2013.

Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp. is pushing to increase quickly its enterprise business as it seeks to expand its hold on the burgeoning network equipment and service market for governments and businesses.

ZTE primarily makes smartphones and infrastructure equipment for telecom service providers, but the company said it expects to see strong growth in its less developed sector that makes communication equipment and provides services for governments, large businesses and other heavy infrastructure projects.

ZTE Vice President Xu Ming said Tuesday the company expected its enterprise revenue to grow to $6 billion to $7 billion by the end of 2015 from 8.8 billion yuan ($1.39 billion) in 2011. Mr. Xu said in 2012 he expected enterprise revenue to grow 70% from the 2011 level.

Across the enterprise industry, companies are seeing surging growth as communications equipment and services become more critical for governments and businesses across the world. But that demand has attracted rivals like China’s largest telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co., and also places ZTE in competition with Western mainstays like Cisco Systems Inc. and International Business Machines Corp.

Mr. Xu said one way for ZTE to compete would be to focus on the industries it specializes in, pointing out that ZTE held more than 50% market share for railroad signaling and communications in China, and was growing its presence in the industry to Russia and Central Asia.

“For total information and communication technologies revenue IBM is the leader, but in different industries, for example, in the railways, IBM doesn’t exist,” he said.

He also said ZTE was striving to grow out its sales channels abroad. Although it has 1,000 channel partners in China, he said it currently has far less in 15 key markets the company has identified for growth. As a result, the company is aiming to sign around 50 partners in those markets this year, and more than 100 in each by the end of 2013, he said.