ZTE targets local government for UK growth

Despite security controversy, Chinese firm ZTE’s UK head of sales tells Computer Weekly one of its first targets will be local government

Chinese firm ZTE is planning to grow its UK presence by selling its technology to local government and schools, despite the recent controversy around the security of its products.

ZTE is predominantly known as a manufacturer of consumer mobile handsets, ranked as the fourth largest globally by sales in the second quarter of 2012 by Gartner and shipping almost 18 million units in the three month period.

However, it also has a very large enterprise arm, which has grown 89% year-on-year, providing switches, video-conferencing tools, CCTV and even cloud computing solutions.

The problem is this technology was recently accused of posing a threat to national security by a US Congress committee, which claimed using networking kit from Huawei could give the Chinese government a way of monitoring networks and even stealing data.

ZTE’s sales director in the UK, Paul Cobos, was unwilling to talk about the report or any effect it was having on its business on European soil when he met with Computer Weekly at IP Expo, but revealed it was not putting ZTE off going after public sector contracts in the UK.

“I think local government would be good for us and other local authority [organisations] like schools,” he said.

ZTE only has a small presence right now, with an office in Brentford housing 100 employees, but it is keen to use trade shows to try to drum up business, educate the industry about all its different types of technology and sign up some channel partners to sell it on.

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