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Chinese handset co ZTE enters India
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NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Chinese network and handset major ZTE has entered the retail space in India and will sell handsets under its own brand here from this week, its chairman and managing director DK Ghosh told ET.

So far, ZTE has sold over 25 million handsets in India through telecom service providers such as RCOM, BSNL, Tata Teleservices & Vodafone Essar. Mr Gosh also said that the company had crossed the $1-billion mark in revenues from India for the first time in the year-ended March 2009.

India is ZTE’s second-largest market after China and generates a little over 10% of the company’s global revenues. At present, India accounts for about 16% of ZTE’s global handset sales and its entry into the retail space could see this going up to 20%.

Mr Gosh said that ZTE has appointed Overseas Mobiles as its national distributor for mobile and data devices. “Overseas Mobiles will appoint 80 regional distributors across India and manage relationships with distributors and corporate customers on behalf of ZTE as we are targeting to have a presence in 1 lakh retail outlsets in India by this year-end,” he added.

With global sales of over 100 million handsets last year, ZTE is currently the sixth-largest handset manufacturer in the world.

In another development, Yulong, China’s largest dual mode handset manufacturer and a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-listed China Wireless Technologies, is in advanced talks with Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group for an exclusive distribution tie-up to sell dual-mode mobile handsets in India.

Both sides are expected to seal a deal early next month. This tie-up will lay the ground for Yulong’s foray in the Indian handset market.

“Yulong sees a strategic fit with us as the R-ADAG offers both GSM and CDMA services through Reliance Communications,” said Reliance Webstore CEO Sarup Chowdhary. Reliance Webstore is the retail arm of the group which runs its telecom business through RCOM. Yulong will import products to India. The two players are expecting a revenue growth of Rs 600 crore within the next five years.

Reliance ADAG is also understood to be exploring retail opportunities with Nokia, LG, Samsung and HTC. It’s in talks to sign commercial agreements to retail their open market handset range in the future, company officials said. The company plans to invest Rs 186 crore in its retail arm during the current financial year.

“We will be offering them retail footprint through our Reliance World stores. There is no investment from our end, it is more of a strategic fit,” said Mr. Chowdhary. This will be Yulong’s first joint venture outside of China where it already has a 27% market share compared to Samsung’s 31% share in China.

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