Trump could save ZTE from US ban

Chinese smartphone and mobile network equipment manufacturer ZTE could be set for an reprieve after US President Donald Trump suggested he could offer the company a route back into the American market.

Last month, the US Department of Commerce banned ZTE from procuring products and services from American companies after it breached an agreement reached as a penalty for selling US technology to Iran and North Korea.

ZTE sources up to 30 per cent of its components from the US, including chips from Qualcomm, and there was speculation as to whether it could continue to use Google’s Android. The firm admitted that the ruling placed its future in jeopardy and last week confirmed it was shutting down operations.


However Trump, who is set to hold trade talks with China this week, tweeted that the issue might yet be resolved.

“President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” he said.

“China and the United States are working well together on trade, but past negotiations have been so one sided in favor of China, for so many years, that it is hard for them to make a deal that benefits both countries. But be cool, it will all work out!”

China is home to several major handset makers, including Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo, which join ZTE in the list of the world’s top ten manufacturers. However, with the exception of Huawei, none have made significant advances in Europe and the US. This can be attributed to marketing, consumer preference and carrier support, but Huawei and ZTE have struggled in the US because of national security concerns.

Xiaomi hopes to crack the European market thanks to a new partnership with CK Hutchison, parent company of Three.


Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.