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ZTE wants high-end phones to help push it past 100m shipments by 2017

ZTE has once again pinned its colours to the high-end smartphone flag in its efforts to establish itself as a brand that can rival the likes of Samsung and Apple in the ultra competitive segment.

The Chinese manufacturer, which is the world’s ninth largest smartphone vendor, wants to increase its shipments from 40 million to 60 million this year and then increase by 20 million over the next two years to reach 100 million in 2016.

"We will make more and more premium smartphones," ZTE's executive vice-president Zeng Xuezong told Reuters. "After our efforts in the past two years, I believe our brand awareness and approval rating from customers could rival those of Apple and Samsung in China."

ZTE’s top of the range model is the Nubia Z5 that currently sells for around 2,999 yuan [£286] and it’s forecasting sales growth of 300 per cent in 2014 compared to 2013. Much of this is down to the fact that ZTE’s feature-laden Nubia range is around 2,000 yuan [£191] less than the iPhone 5S and Galaxy S5, though its brand is still not recognised outside out its home territory – something that ZTE knows it must address.

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"There is indeed a gap between the brand awareness of Chinese companies and those top global brands, and this is what our team is trying to build for consumers," Zeng said.

It is planning to increase its US marketing budget by 120 per cent in 2014 and it’s hoped that this will lead to an increase in its US market share from six per cent last year to 10 per cent in 2017.

ZTE has cast its assertions in terms of high-end mobile handsets in the past and stated its desire to do so in January 2013 and the firm’s lower price point may well bring it success in the coming years.