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ZTE Launched Flagship Model Axon in USA

by Linda Sui | Jul 18, 2015

ZTE, the 7th largest smartphone vendor globally, launched its new flagship model Axon in USA this week, the first time the Chinese vendor launched flagship model initially in USA, indicating the importance of USA market to ZTE. According to our Handset Country Share Tracker (HCST) services, ZTE is the fourth largest smartphone vendor in USA at AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint (including Boost Mobile and Virgin prepaid brands), leading the pack among all Chinese brands.

Axon is a brand new model featuring a number of advanced features, such as enhanced HiFi audio with double speakers, voice recognition services which allow users to control phone and access many functions (take photos, translate into multiple languages , drive mode, play music, volume control etc.) by voice commend, as well as eye-recognition and gesture recognition etc. The form factor is also appealing, with 5.5 inch 2K display, metal case or mixed back body (metal and feather). We handed on the phone and the respond was quick and smooth. Voice quality was good too.

It is unlocked and available at online channel (Amazon etc.) with the full retail price of US$450. Our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) services estimate unlocked smartphones made up 4% of total smartphone volumes in USA in 2014, and we expect to volume and market share will steadily grow in the following few years. However, we believe the endorsement of top tier carriers in postpaid market is the determining role to ensure the decent phone have a decent volume in US market.

In addition to USA, ZTE will formally launch the phone in China on July 21st. We expect more features will be added in China version, such as figure print feature.

The launch of Axon shows ZTE is under the right track to shift up and revive its smartphone business. ZTE targets to have high tier and premium tier models together to make up 45% of its total smartphone volumes in 2015. Axon performance in USA and China will play a critical role to reach the target.

While its target being top 3 smartphone vendors in 15 key countries by 2020 sounds little bit aggressive at this moment, the launch of Axon in both US and China indicates the Chinese company is working hard and under right track to reach the target.

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