ZTE resumed its normal production operations earlier today, including those aimed at manufacturing Android smartphones, Chairman Li Zixue told Chinese outlet Securities Times. The company’s research and development division still isn’t back to its full operational capacity but is currently in the process of returning to that status as quickly as possible, the official said. The development comes some six weeks after ZTE escaped the crippling grasp of a denial order issued by the Department of Commerce adamant to punish the company for violating a 2017 settlement that itself was meant to deal with the firm’s violations of trade embargoes imposed on North Korea and Iran.
Under the terms of the now-repealed ban, ZTE was prevented from purchasing American technologies for seven years and due to its reliance on Qualcomm’s chips, Google’s Android, and a number of other solutions originating from the U.S., the sanction would have likely seen it go out of business by next year had it stood. While stateside lawmakers threatened to bankrupt ZTE with a legislative maneuver, they didn’t follow through with that idea following appeals from President Trump. As part of a new settlement, ZTE paid a $1 billion fine less than a year after already conceding to a penalty amounting to nearly $900 million due to the original violations, in addition to making another $400-million escrow payment, replacing the entirety of its board and management, and financing an independent team of auditors that will monitor it for future transgressions over the next decade.
Newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Xu Ziyang recently said the last four months weren’t enough to erode the company’s advancements in the telecommunications segment, though it remains to be seen how ZTE’s business will be affected by the publicity hit it endured during the troubled episode. Some industry watchers recently called for the firm’s Western arm to rebrand itself but no such moves are currently being seriously considered, sources claimed earlier this month.