I am at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and interviewed Mr Luo Wei, who currently serves as Vice President of ZTE Corporation and Head of Product Center of Mobile Device Division, with responsibility for product operation and technology planning of Mobile Device Division.
How is ZTE Mobile Devices currently performing in the global market?
Supported by the company, ZTE Mobile Devices has been advancing the development of brands, products, and channels. In 2021, the total shipment of ZTE terminal devices has exceed 100 million units, achieving a year-on-year growth of 60%, with the year-on-year growth of 150% in the Chinese market and 50% in the overseas markets. ZTE Mobile Devices has secured the largest market share of 5G CPEs globally becoming the No.1 brand.
Under this environment of continuing epidemics how confident Is ZTE Mobile Devices of continued growth? What are your expectations for the future?
Both the ongoing pandemic and volatile global supply chain have indeed posed great challenges to our operations. ZTE has been developing its business across the globe for over 20 years, with branches established in more than 100 countries, supported by a strong supply chain system. This lays a solid foundation for us to address uncertainties and risks in the international market.
In order to improve its product competitiveness, ZTE Mobile Devices is committed to “InnovAction,” namely, innovations and actions. To regain our position as a mainstream terminal supplier, we have innovated in technology, and more importantly, put innovations into commercial use over the years. For example, we take the lead in applying the under-display camera technology and computational photography to smartphones. Along with other players in the industry, we are bringing together better services and experience to consumers. With InnovAction, ZTE’s smartphones have already been widely recognized by the industry and consumers.
We have also redefined the positioning of our brands, and developed the strategy of building the “1+2+N” ecosystem significantly enhancing our brand image among targeted consumers and markets. In the “1+2+N” ecosystem, “1” refers to smartphones, which is the core of the mobile Internet ecosystem; “2” indicates personal and home information terminals; and “N” represents peripheral ecological products.
Our goal remains clear in the future, that is, to maintain the momentum of business growth. As mentioned before, in the next few years, we expect to achieve a year-on-year growth of over 200% in the Chinese market, and over 50% in the overseas markets.
Does ZTE have different strategic goals and tactics for China and overseas markets?
Currently, China is the top target market for our terminal products. Looking forward, we will go “All in 5G”. As a pioneer committed to “InnovAction”, we will continuously innovate in cutting-edge technologies, more importantly, put them into commercial use. This year, ZTE has launched several innovative flagship models, all of which have been well received by the market. As we all know, IoT has become a buzzword in recent years. Embracing this trend, we will keep building the “1+2+N” ecosystem, to provide full-scenario intelligent solutions centered on smartphones.
In overseas markets, we always strive to maintain stable growth. As you know, the market conditions and 5G development stages vary from country to country and region to region. For example, the Asia-Pacific and European markets are witnessing a wide application of 5G technology, while Latin America is experiencing a transition from 4G to 5G. All of these bring a great potential for our business growth in the market. In view of this, we will tailor strategies and stay committed to meticulous channel management in key markets to guarantee sustainable development. With high-quality products and services, we endeavor to build a time-honored global brand that features both competitiveness and professionalism.
In short, ZTE will adhere to the following three aspects. First, step up technological innovation, specifically, to continuously make breakthroughs and explore new horizons. Second, build the “1+2+N” ecosystem, to provide integrated solutions for highly intelligent lifestyles. Third, strengthen strategic investments in products, branding, and channels.
What fields does the “1+2+N” full-scenario smart ecology that ZTE strives to build cover? In terms of mobile internet, what has ZTE achieved and what are its future development goals?
With the “1+2+N” ecosystem, we aim to create comprehensive product portfolios covering all application scenarios. These scenarios fall into four major fields: sports and health, business travel, audio-visual entertainment, and home education. We are committed to providing diverse 5G products tailored to the needs of individual and family users, thus empowering smart lives in various scenarios.
In the mobile Internet business, we will further consolidate our leading role in the global market. That is to say, to secure our first place in the high-end markets of MBB (mobile broadband) products, maintain our leading position in 5G patent applications, and keep ranking No.1 in product performance. We will also expand into more industries and application fields with IoT products, such as automotive electronics. By doing so, we strive to secure the position as the No.1 brand in the global mobile Internet business.
At this MWC, ZTE demonstrated its new high-power 5G mmW pre-research technology and products. What breakthroughs has this technology brought? What difficulties and opportunities do you think the development of 5G technology is facing now?
To accelerate the deployment of 5G mmW, ZTE has been continuously testing to gradually improve the wireless transmission rate of terminal devices. At present, the transmission rate of ZTE high-power mmW 5G CPEs has exceeded 10 Gbps, enabling the wireless transmission rate of terminal devices to surpass computer hardware and marking a great leap forward in the history of Internet communications.
The device showcased here at MWC 2022 is equipped with the new Qualcomm SD X65 chip, supporting dual link between Sub6G and MMW, that can further improve the frequency band and Internet fluency. To ensure heat dissipation capability during the process of high-rate transmission, the MBB team at ZTE worked together with the team at Qualcomm to conduct joint pilot studies and concept design for half a year. As a result, new heat-conducting material was integrated into the product design, improving the heat dissipation efficiency by 20%. Time-sharing CA technology and a new generation of micro controlled power algorithm was developed to simultaneously achieve better heat dissipation and signal coverage of the devices.
At present, 5G is still at the early stage of development. Although consumer products represented by 5G smartphones have been well developed, the application of 5G products in other fields has not been popularized on a large scale generally, which is the main problem faced by the current development of 5G technology.
ZTE has announced here at MWC that its global shipments of 5G MBB products have exceeded 1 million units. What do you think is the main reason For ZTE achieving this result?
ZTE has been committed to MBB for 17 years and has become a powerhouse in the field. In recent years, the smart terminal industry has undergone great change, with many challenges brought about by globalization. ZTE continues to accumulate extensive technological experience and capabilities making innovation a part of our DNA by continuously promoting the commercial use of cutting-edge 5G terminal technologies. In terms of core technologies, ZTE Mobile Devices vigorously develops in-house designed chipsets and strives to improve R&D capabilities and innovation levels. At present, ZTE has submitted 4,400 applications for chip patents, including 1,950 in-house designed chips for terminal devices covering different fields including personal and home communications, IoV, and industrial surveillance.
To remain competitive in the market, in addition to improvement of our products and technologies, it is also essential for us to enhance branding, channel development, and market strategies. Therefore, we will continuously improve the brand image, stay committed to meticulous channel management in the Chinese market, and focus on key overseas countries with tailored strategies.
What are the improvements in the new 5G CPEs compared to the previous generation? What changes do you think these upgrades will bring to the field of mobile internet?
In 2019, ZTE had released MC801, its first 5G CPE product, and successively launched Gen 2 and Gen 3 indoor 5G CPE products in 2020 and 2021. The new series of MBB family are further improved and upgraded based on the previous generations, forming the diversified 5G data terminal scenarios, suitable for personal, home, travel, office and so on. The new series of MBB family can meet the requirement for development from 2C to 2B, further expand their application scenarios, and drive the widespread application of 5G technology.
The series of 5G MBB family including indoor 5G CPE MC888 series, outdoor 5G CPE MC889 series, and new-gen portable 5G MiFi MU5120, are equipped with the world-leading Qualcomm X65 or X62 platform for the first time. The MC888 Ultra of MC888 series, suitable for indoor scenarios, adopts the smart antenna array 3.0 with antenna gain reaching to 10dBi, enabling stable and comprehensive 5G signal reception even with weak signals. Nevertheless, MC888 Ultra continuously dissipates heat by adopting penetrating self-ventilation technology. This, as a result, ensures ultra-long and stable high-speed operation even under high-power condition.
How does ZTE create unique advantages in mobile phone products? What are the future plans in terms of handset uniqueness and competitiveness.
To be specific, we will enhance product competitiveness from four aspects. First of all, we will improve product design to value individual and stylish personality and targets young consumers. Secondly, following the prevailing trend in photography, we will further innovate in smartphone cameras and lead new trends in computational photography. Thirdly, we will give full play to our advantages in 5G technology to address the pain points of consumers. Lastly, we will strengthen OS upgrade and interaction optimization to improve user experience. In addition, by continuously improving the experience of multi-screen interaction and connection, ZTE strives to achieve the IoT centered on smartphones.
Finally, we will leverage our advantages in 5G to further improve AI-based communications in different scenarios through the “1+2+N” ecosystem. In such fields as mobile officing, e-sports, and live streaming, we will provide intelligent and professional terminal network solutions. With scenario-based applications, these solutions can bring better 5G experiences to all users.