ZTE has been trying real hard to go beyond being just a white box manufacturer for a number of international mobile carriers, something which garners very little exposure for the OEM to retail consumers. In its endeavor to be a significant player in the high-margin branded smartphone market, ZTE launched the Nubia sub-brand in 2013, to sell more high-end devices directly to the end consumer. While the brand has thus far remained limited to China, ZTE has laid out ambitious plans for expansion outside its homeland. It was only last week, that the company announced its plans to start its India operations, and even launched a whole new website specifically targeted at the Indian consumers. On Friday, the company sent out invites for the official launch of the brand in the country. The launch is slated for May 19th and according to sources, the first two devices to be launched in the country will be the flagship Nubia Z9 and the smaller Z9 Mini. There's no word thus far on the Z9 Max phablet, but maybe ZTE will launch that one along with the other two as well.
The flagship Nubia Z9, which was announced last week, is already available for pre-order internationally through online retailer OppoMart, with prices starting from $649 for the 3 GB version and going up to $749 for the 4 GB version. The device has a 5.2 inch 1080p display and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 SoC. Different versions of the phone come with either 3 or 4 GB of RAM and 32 or 64 GB of storage. The handset runs Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box and has a fingerprint scanner on the top-end edition. The device also comes with a 16 megapixel rear camera and an 8 megapixel front camera.
India has become an extremely significant market for most manufacturers of late, with the Chinese market becoming more competitive with the launch of new brands seemingly every other month. That in turn, is severely restricting the pricing power of the vendors, which is taking its toll on operating margins. Most Chinese brands have made a beeline for India over the past year, including big names like Xiaomi, Oppo, Gionee, OnePlus, Meizu, Coolpad and now Nubia. Of course, better-known brands like Lenovo, Huawei and Nubia's parent ZTE have already been operational in India for years now with smartphones and other devices.