By Tom Noda
With the local smartphone market still an open game among handset manufacturers, Chinese firm ZTE has bared plans to rule over the market in the Philippines as it launched four new Android models.
In launching its new smartphones, ZTE’s mobile devices division likewise kicked off its partnership with the Houston Rockets team of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The new products by the Shenzhen-based company in China were two entry-level and two advanced smartphones – the ZTE Kis II-V795, V829, and V967S, V969, respectively.
All four smartphones feature ZTE’s user interface, MiFavor, meant to deliver intuitive operations and personal customization.
Jeff Zhou Fang, regional marketing director of ZTE Southeast Asia, said the company is targeting to be number one in the Philippine smartphone market in the next three years.
“Right now, our target is to get as much of the [Philippine] smartphone market,” Fang said.
He said the smartphone penetration rate in the Philippines is only about 20 percent, compared with other western countries with 60 to 70-percent adoption rate.
Globally, ZTE held five percent of the smartphone market during the second half of the year.
Fang tagged the V795 and V829 to be more ideal for Filipino consumers, selling at P3,190 and P5,590, respectively. Both have dual-core processors and run on the Android Jelly bean 4.2 version.
“The V967S is below P10,000 while the V969, which is like a phablet, is around P11,000,” Fang said, noting both devices are powered by MediaTek quad-core processors.
Since 2011, ZTE shifted its focus to the smartphone market and was recently named one of the fastest growing smartphone brand in the US, holding 17-percent of market share in the first quarter of 2013.
The Philippines, together with Europe and Japan, are seen as strategic markets to ZTE’s launch of its 4G-LTE smartphones.
ZTE in the Philippines is working with tech products distributor MSI-ECS and telecommunication companies to bring the brand’s mobile experience directly accessible to Filipinos.
According to ZTE Philippines President James Chen, the company’s partnership with the Houston Rockets will serve to increase brand awareness globally as the basketball team will carry ZTE to be its official smartphone for the 2013-2014 NBA Season.
“We believe Houston Rockets is going be the champion and ZTE wants to become champion as well,” Chen said.
The executive added ZTE will raffle off different smartphones in every Houston Rockets game, conduct charity works, sponsor 3-on-3 basketball competitions around Houston, among others.
Jeff Zhou, president of ZTE in Southeast Asia, said the company chose Houston Rockets as partner as it relates to the team’s passion of becoming champions to ZTE’s goal of becoming number one in the smartphone arena market.
Zhou said another reason on why ZTE chose the Houston Rockets is because of its Asian-American player Jeremy Lin, the team’s 6-foot-3 point guard of Taiwanese descent who is very popular in Asia.