India Business
China's ZTE Corp big on India, plans second unit
Apr 1, 2007 - 12:08:10 PM

New Delhi, April 1 - Chinese telecom equipment giant ZTE Corp, which sees India as its most important market, is setting up a second manufacturing plant in the country as part of its expansion plans.

The company, which started its operations in India in 2001, had set up its first plant at Manesar, Haryana, with an investment of almost Rs.40-50 million in 2005, mainly to manufacture handsets.

'We are looking for suitable sites in West Bengal, Haryana and Tamil Nadu for setting up our second manufacturing unit which will have more capacity as it will be a much bigger unit than the existing one,' Dilip Kumar Ghosh, chairman and managing director, ZTE India, told IANS.

He, however, declined to give the details on how much investment would go into setting up the second unit.

ZTE Corp is a leading CDMA equipment supplier to India's three big CDMA players - Reliance Communications -, Tata Teleservices and the state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd -.

The company, which is China's only listed telecom manufacturer, is also expecting revenues of over $680 million from the Indian market in the upcoming fiscal 2007-08.

'Globally India is now the most important market for us. And we are expecting a turnover of over Rs.3000 crores - from our business here,' said Ghosh.

'We are very satisfied that our products have been accepted widely by both private and public sector operators,' Ghosh said, adding the company currently accounts for 85 percent of BSNL's CDMA market.

The Chinese equipment major has deployed over 60 million lines of CDMA equipment in over 100 networks in more than 60 countries and regions. It has helped RCOM expand its CDMA network at the speed of one million new users per month.

But the company is also gearing up fast to increase its footprint in the more predominant GSM market in India.

'We feel there is soon going to be a vacuum in the GSM market. And we are waiting to take advantage of that,' Ghosh asserted.

Huang Da Bin, chief executive of ZTE India, said: 'Both - are important strategic areas for us and our focus is right now to strengthen our GSM market in India. India is the biggest market in ZTE's overseas business.

'The rural market is a tremendous potential area for us. We are also trying to enter into partnership deals with the government for rural connectivity,' Da Bin told IANS.

Currently, ZTE employs about 500 people in India. And it has plans to increase the headcount significantly within the next six months for its offices in Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bangalore.

It has also set up a training and research and development centre in Bangalore.

Pointing out that the company had invested over Rs.300 million in India, Ghosh said: 'We are ready to invest several million dollars in India, provided we are able to clinch significant deals with a few leading telecom players in India, which are currently under negotiations.'

He, however, refused to name the companies.

Apart from focusing on GSM and CDMA, the company is also planning to enter the broadband and Wi-Max market in a very big way by selling switches and routers to service operators as they rollout to rural areas.

'We are definitely focusing very much on the growth of the broadband as well as Wi-max market. And in order to be able to successfully roll out in rural areas, Wi-max is the only solution,' Ghosh averred.

The company has currently undertaken Tata's national rural telecom projects.

ZTE Corp is also bullish over the entry of British telecom giant Vodafone in India, which it feels will help the company in leveraging its business here as they both share a good business relationship globally.

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