ZTE network equipment production 'back to normal'

The new CEO of ZTE has claimed production is back to normal following the revocation of a seven-year ban from dealing with US companies.

The company had been banned from obtaining products and services from US suppliers after it breached a previous agreement reached for illegally shipping products to North Korea and Iran. This led it to suspend operations and admit that its survival was at risk.

The effects were disastrous, but President Trump personally intervened to overturn the penalty on the condition that ZTE pay a $1 billion fine, change its board and management, and put $400 million in escrow.

ZTE ban

Despite the lifeline, employees and industry figures still had doubts as to whether ZTE could overcome the reputational damage suffered by the incident. Others had concerns that the overhaul of the board could lead to instability.

However new CEO Xu Ziyang has moved to ease such fears by stating that it expects to return to a normal growth rate in 2019 with plans also in the works for further investment in research and development.

“We can definitely say the company is still in the front line in the communications industry,” Ziyang reportedly told investors. “Our orders have been great and are in line with that of July and August last year.”

ZTE’s recovery won’t be aided any further by the US, however. It is effectively frozen out of the American market, while Australia has made similar moves. British cybersecurity agencies have also warned UK operators not to use ZTE equipment because it would hamper ongoing monitoring of Huawei kit.

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.