ZTE Corporation is a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and systems company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.
ZTE operates in three business units - Carrier Networks(54%)-Terminals(29%)-Telecommunication(17%). ZTE's core products are wireless, exchange, access, optical transmission, and data telecommunications gear; mobile phones; and telecommunications software. It also offers products that provide value-added services, such as video on demand and streaming media. ZTE primarily sells products under its own name but it is also an OEM.
ZTE is one of the top five largest smartphone manufacturers in its home market, and in the top ten, worldwide.
ZTE, initially founded as Zhongxing Semiconductor Co., Ltd in Shenzhen, China, in 1985, was incorporated by a group of investors associated with China's Ministry of Aerospace. In March 1993, Zhongxing Semiconductor has changed its name to Zhongxing New Telecommunications Equipment Co., Ltd with capital of RMB 3 million, and created a new business model as a "state-owned and private-operating" economic entity. Ties to the state notwithstanding, the corporation has evolved into ZTE Corporation of being publicly traded having made an initial public offering (IPO) on the Shenzhen stock exchange in 1997 and another on the Hong Kong stock exchange in December, 2004.
While the company initially profited from domestic sales, it vowed to use money from its 2004 Hong Kong IPO to further expand R&D, overseas sales to developed nations, and overseas production. Making headway in the international telecom market in 2006, it took 40% of new global orders for CDMA networks topping the world CDMA equipment market by number of shipments. That same year also saw ZTE find a customer in the Canadian Telus and membership in the Wi-Fi Alliance. More customers in developed nations soon followed Telus' lead, and in 2007 ZTE had sold to UK's Vodafone, Spain's Telefonica, and the Australian Telstra, as well as garnering the greatest number of CDMA contracts globally. By 2008 ZTE could claim its customer base was truly global, as it had made sales in 140 countries.
In 2009, the company had become the worldwide third-largest vendor of GSM telecom equipment, and about 20% of all GSM gear sold throughout the world that year was ZTE branded. As of 2011 it holds around 7% of the key 3GPP Long Term Evolution patents and that same year launched the world's first smartphone with dual GPS/GLONASS navigation, MTS 945. ZTE claims to devote 10% of its annual revenue on research and development each year, and it could be producing patents and utility licenses at a furious pace. ZTE has filed 48,000 patents globally, and with more than 13,000 patents granted. 90% more patents are invention-related. In two consecutive years (2011 and 2012), ZTE has been granted the largest number of patent applications globally, which is the first for a Chinese company.