An executive Lixin Cheng said in an interview, in a move that would mark a change from offering low-cost feature phones and smartphones in the competitive market.
The move will enable ZTE, long known for offering telecom equipment to carriers, to compete head-to-head with the likes of Apple Inc., HTC Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and Nokia Corp. in the high-end smartphone market where competition is increasing.
Cheng said that the ZTE expects US to be its largest market by 2015. The company already has a significant presence in China, which is a bigger smartphone market than the US and still growing, so the company has some work ahead of it to reach that goal.
He said that ZTE currently has 10 offices and three R&D facilities in the US and is considering bringing manufacturing to the states as well. The budget manufacturer already has some Tegra 3 tablets transcending mediocre, so maybe a high-end smartphone isn’t all that crazy.
ZTE is in talks with the top four U.S. carriers about launching the phone and they are likely to be based on Google Inc.’s Android software or Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 7 platform, said the executive.
“With a similar feature set [as the iPhone], ZTE can offer an alternative,” said Cheng, adding that the phones would still be “more affordable” than the iPhone, but he declined to comment on price points.