ZTE Eyes Smart Watch Industry, Plans Smartphone Market Expansion

November 17, 2013 - Written By Eric Abent

ZTE isn’t a name we hear come up as frequently as some other smartphone manufacturers here in the western world, but if Executive Vice President He Shiyou has his way, that will all be changing in the future. In an interview with the Financial Times, He discusses a number of major initiatives the Chinese company has planned for the next few years. These include the release of a ZTE-branded smart watch, the expansion of its smartphone business, and even plans for a pair of connected glasses seemingly inspired by Google Glass.

The smart watch He mentions might be just around the corner, as the executive said it could be launching “as early as the first quarter” of next year. Details are still few and far between at this point (meaning they’re essentially non-existent), but it isn’t much of a surprise to hear ZTE is planning a smart watch launch. These days, pretty much every major technology manufacturer seems to be plotting smart watches of their own, so ZTE is simply the latest name on an already lengthy list.

Details on these connected glasses from ZTE were similarly slim. Don’t expect them to launch as quickly as ZTE’s smart watch, though, as He concedes that the company’s connected glasses will take a bit longer to develop. Whenever they end up launching, it’s probably safer to expect more information about ZTE’s smart watch before we hear more about the company’s connected glasses.

ZTE Grand X Pro

It appears ZTE has big plans for the future of its smartphone business, too. He is keen to expand ZTE’s market share in the smartphone space, and plans on doing this through a series of mergers and acquisitions. The company is expecting smartphones to make up 70% of its phone shipments this year, with feature phones continuing to drop in popularity. ZTE has been primarily known for low-end and relatively inexpensive handsets, but now the company seems to be making a push for the higher-end devices we see from the most popular smartphone manufacturers.

He also said that we can expect ZTE to continue making Windows Phone devices moving forward. Such a deal was apparently up in the air at one point, but Microsoft has expressed to phone makers that despite its recent Nokia buyout, it would like to see other companies continue to make Windows Phone handsets. Should everything go as planned, He envisions a future where ZTE is listed among the “top three in terms of market share,” while also becoming a more common name in the west through advertising and sponsorship initiatives. ZTE certainly has big plans for the future, so now we’ll have to wait and see if everything plays out in the way He is anticipating.