Bloomberg | January 18, 2011 | Amy Thomson
ZTE Corp., the Chinese supplier of telecommunications equipment, is being denied the American Dream in the U.S., said its top executive for the region.
“Because of miscommunications and misperceptions of politicians in the U.S., we believe that ZTE is not treated fairly in this marketplace,” Lixin Cheng, chief executive officer of ZTE USA, said in an interview.
ZTE, based in Shenzhen, China, makes mobile phones, data cards and infrastructure for wireless networks. It has boosted revenue in many markets by offering advanced technologies at low prices. To tap into the growth opportunities in the U.S., the company has invested in the latest wireless technology, what’s known as fourth-generation, or 4G, equipment.
Still, U.S. government officials are limiting ZTE’s growth, Cheng said, by treating the company with suspicion and lumping it together with Huawei Technologies Co., which has drawn congressional scrutiny for its efforts to expand in the country. ZTE USA hires more than 80 percent of its staff from the U.S. and has encouraged foreign investment, he said.
“No matter where you come from as a person, if you act locally and follow the law here, you have an equal opportunity to become successful,” Cheng said. “That’s what ZTE wants.”
A report this month by the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission, an independent 12-member panel that advises Congress, indicated that Chinese telecommunications companies may be conscripted into plans for interfering with or gaining intelligence from the U.S. wireless networks.
The commission said that the majority of ZTE’s shares appear to be owned by government entities and called the company a “quiet giant,” supplying handsets to Western companies often without using its own brand.