Inventory of ZTE’s 2019 Year

5G will be a new growth engine for the ICT industry and the entire society in the next decade. All communication giants, including ZTE, Huawei, and Ericsson, have begun to increase their investment in the 5G field. In 2020, my country’s 5G scale construction will officially start, and the first-line communication giants represented by Huawei, ZTE, and Ericsson will become the core beneficiaries of this wave. Among the many participants, who will be the biggest winner has become the focus of discussions among industry insiders.

In addition to Huawei, which is in the limelight, the “ambitious” ZTE is one of the most important players that cannot be ignored. According to public information, ZTE’s layout in the 5G field has already been launched, and it is not lost to Huawei in many key areas.

Ovum, an authoritative consulting company in the world telecommunications industry, pointed out in a 2019 report that ZTE is one of the “only two” manufacturers in the world with end-to-end 5G solutions. ZTE not only possesses 5G system maturity, leadership, and support for 5G commercial network deployment, but also efficiently promotes commercial use of 5G terminals.

In order to make a comeback in the 5G field, ZTE can be said to have done its best!


Suffering from pain, life in desperation

In 2019, which everyone is not optimistic about, ZTE has completed a tragic reflection in a very low-key manner. In 2018, ZTE was restricted by the US government from importing chips from the US, which was an unprecedented blow to ZTE, which relies on chips. Subsequently, ZTE chose a huge indemnity for the survival of the company, which directly caused ZTE’s cash flow to suffer a very big blow.

ZTE has suffered enough due to the lack of core chip technology. In 2019, ZTE also invested heavily in the research and development of its own chips. On July 8, 2019, good news came out. ZTE President Xu Ziyang officially announced: ZTE’s 7nm process chip has been designed and completed. mass production. This is a 5G chip. The advent of this chip marks that ZTE has finally made a breakthrough in its own chips.

It is not only the core that is related to life and death, but the importance of patents in the technical field cannot be ignored, because it largely determines what kind of achievements a communication company can achieve. In June 2019, the German patent data company Iplytics released a statistical report on the number of 5G SEP patents. In the SEP patent ranking, ZTE ranked third with 1,424 SEP patents. The news came out that the Chinese were shocked. Because this means that ZTE has surpassed Qualcomm and Samsung in the global 5G essential patents, and ZTE may have a greater advantage in the 5G field in the future.

“Buying in research and development” has not delayed ZTE’s breakthrough in the 5G market. As of September 2019, ZTE has won 35 5G commercial contracts around the world, shipped more than 50,000 5G base stations, and launched projects with more than 60 operators around the world. 5G cooperation. In 2019, ZTE achieved a number of historic breakthroughs in the global high-end operator market. On the basis of consolidating the existing market, ZTE is expected to fully enter the communication equipment market of mainstream European operators such as Vodafone and Orange.

Internationally, ZTE has made continuous breakthroughs, and domestically, ZTE has also continued to make progress. The three major operators are bidding for 5G construction projects. ZTE has performed well in the bidding of communication transmission equipment such as OTN, as well as IT equipment such as servers and high-end routers/switches. Compared with the 4G era, the company’s winning share and quality have achieved an overall improvement. In the “high-end router 2T file” bid package, ZTE was the first candidate to win the bid, with a winning bid share of 50%, which is an important milestone for ZTE to enter the most technically difficult high-end router market.

In addition, there is also a great joy that ZTE’s mobile phone business, which has not been breakthrough for many years, has fully blossomed when 5G is accelerating. ZTE’s first 5G flagship, the ZTE Axon 10 Pro, was released globally, leading the commercial use of 5G mobile phones, becoming the first commercial 5G mobile phone in China, Northern Europe and the Middle East. In December 2019, ZTE announced the official release of the 5G dual-mode flagship ZTE Axon 10s Pro 5G, which fully supports SA/NSA dual-mode 5G networks, expressing its emphasis on the 5G mobile phone business.

In 2019, ZTE ranked first in the world in terms of 5G essential patents and R&D. In terms of market, the domestic market is reserved. Compared with overseas, there is room for improvement in the proportion of revenue in the 3G period. ZTE’s 2019 is a good turning point, and 2020 is of course highly anticipated. .

The general trend of communication, constant contradictions and uncertain winners and losers

Huawei and ZTE always give people a special feeling – they are born from the same root, so why is it too urgent to fry each other. The two are also communication companies developed locally in China, and the time of establishment is basically in no particular order. They had similar strengths in the early stage. In the current battle in the international market, the two have earned a place for themselves.

The conflict between the two originates from the changes made by ZTE founder Hou Weigui in 1996. At that time, ZTE decided to break through the singleness of the original product structure and expand into diversified fields. Coincidentally, Huawei’s Ren Zhengfei also formulated the formula for Huawei in the same year. 70% of the products of ZTE overlapped with ZTE in terms of product structure, and the two products collided, which paved the way for future “conflicts”.

The conflict between Huawei and ZTE broke out in 1998. At the switch tender meeting in Hunan and Henan provinces, both of them participated. Huawei submitted a tender euphemistically saying that Huawei was superior to ZTE, but it was second in the tender meeting. Days, ZTE retaliated, and completely replaced it with a bid against Huawei. In the end, ZTE grabbed this bid, and this time Huawei was a companion.

I thought this was the end of the matter, and everyone sought development, but then Huawei Ren Zhengfei took up the legal weapon and sued ZTE in the Henan High Court and the Changsha Intermediate Court, suing it for misleading “ZTE Power” and “Huawei Power”. Compared. Subsequently, Hou Weigui counterattacked. In the above mentioned cases in Zhengzhou and Changsha, there were finally four lawsuits. In this confrontation, Huawei benefited.

We all know the story behind it. Huawei’s rapid growth has lasted for more than 20 years, and it has become a leader in communications in China and the world in one fell swoop, constantly eroding ZTE’s market. In the competition that has lasted for many years, Huawei always seems to be able to defeat ZTE at a critical moment until it forms a “crushing” advantage.

However, in the continuous technological confrontation between ZTE and Huawei, is ZTE all at a disadvantage? In fact, it is not. In China Unicom’s CDMA project, ZTE has won over Huawei. In the Unicom CDMA project, Huawei carried out cross-level research and development, but Hou Weigui decided to develop the CDMA95 project and invest a small amount of resources to research the CDMA2000 standard.

In May 2001, China Unicom’s first phase of CDMA was officially tendered again, and ZTE’s CDMA95 was finally selected instead of Huawei’s CDMA2000. ZTE won a total of 7.5% of the 10 provinces in one fell swoop. At the end of November 2002, in the bidding for the second phase of China Unicom’s CDMA construction, ZTE has won a total of 1.57 billion yuan of primary equipment procurement contracts from 12 provinces.

ZTE’s strong counterattack this time made Huawei’s two bids unsuccessful.

In the 5G era, can ZTE outperform Huawei?

According to the single-source procurement information announcement for the expansion of PTN equipment from 2020 to 2021 released by China Mobile, one of the three major domestic operators, ZTE Corporation, 35523 end; Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., 53175 end. SPN equipment procurement suppliers are ZTE Corporation, 3334 terminals; Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., 131129 terminals, it is obvious that Huawei has left ZTE with its strong technical advantages.

In 2020, Huawei can be said to have made a good start, but the follow-up efforts are more important. As a state-owned enterprise, ZTE has natural advantages in some aspects. This is an advantage exclusively for ZTE. Backed by increasingly powerful countries, ZTE can take to some nice orders. For example, India’s three major mobile operators and state-owned BSNL applied for 5G trials, Vodafone Idea and Airtel will cooperate with Ericsson, Nokia and ZTE, while Indian state-owned BSNL decided to only cooperate with ZTE, which is something Huawei cannot do .

In addition to its corporate nature and its advantages accumulated over many years, ZTE is the first Chinese company to break the monopoly of foreign companies on China’s CDMA system equipment. Members of more than 70 international standardization organizations and forums such as 3GPP, IEEE, NGMN, CCSA, ETSI, etc., and more than 40 experts hold important positions such as chairmen and reporters in major international standardization organizations such as 3GPP/CCSA/IEEE. The International Organization for Standardization has submitted more than 45,000 manuscripts, and ZTE participating in it can directly learn a lot of the latest information and share news conveniently.

In order to enhance the company’s continuous strategic investment capability in the 5G track, ZTE completed the fixed increase in fundraising on January 15, 2020, signed a subscription agreement with the subscribers of the non-public issuance of A shares, and issued an additional 381 million A shares at 30.21 yuan per share. The total amount of funds raised was 11.513 billion yuan, and the net amount raised was 11.459 billion yuan. For the funds, ZTE stated that it will use all of it for technical research and product development projects for the evolution of 5G networks, while further supplementing the company’s working capital.

5G is surging, and ZTE is taking precautions. Talent is the greatest wealth of an enterprise at any time. During the peak period of global 5G construction, ZTE launched the 2020 campus recruitment, a total of more than 5,000 jobs, a record high, in order to attract more 5G innovative talent. At the same time, in the marketing field that ZTE has always been lacking, on the eve of the launch of the Spring Festival transport this year, ZTE Mobile has cleverly conveyed the “fast” product selling point of the ZTE Axon 5G flagship mobile phone, focusing on the emotional appeal of the Spring Festival “fast” time to go home and reunite. This advertisement is also Got a lot of good reviews.

Which company is more suitable for the title of 5G pioneer, ZTE must answer in 2020. 5G has brought a new turning point in the “race” between ZTE and Huawei, but this is just a new beginning!


Communication is an industry with high technical thresholds. In order to maintain competitiveness in this field, we must persist in long-term investment, continue to polish our core technologies and upgrade our core capabilities in the face of fierce competition. At the same time, communication enterprises must remain highly sensitive to the market and be able to master their own development rhythm in the changing external environment. Otherwise, it is easy to fall into the vicious circle of “one wrong step, one wrong step”.

The current 5G is the most critical starting line for competition in the next decade. For ZTE, this is an excellent opportunity to overtake its rivals. After the full arrival of 5G, the update and iteration of technology will be faster. If ZTE wants to defeat Huawei again, it will need to make greater efforts than before. Perhaps, after precise strikes again and again, we can see another new competitive landscape. Whether ZTE can seize the new opportunities given by the times, will continue to pay attention.

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Author: Yoyokuo