By Paul Carsten
BEIJING, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp on Monday said profit likely rose 94 percent last year due mainly to its high-speed 4G network division and smartphone business.
Net profit reached 2.64 billion yuan ($424.5 million) on revenue that rose 8 percent to 81.2 billion yuan, preliminary results showed. Both figures were slightly lower than the 2.82 billion yuan profit and 84.12 billion yuan revenue estimated by 13 analysts in a Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate poll.
ZTE fired up its overseas expansion in the past year with various big-name marketing efforts, as it looks to become one of the top global handset manufacturers. The company’s U.S. arm is the official smartphone sponsor of basketball teams New York Knicks, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors.
However, it has seen its efforts thwarted by a slowdown in handset sales at home and the rise of compatriot startup and tech darling Xiaomi Inc. Xiaomi became the world’s third-biggest smartphone maker last year, shrugging off an 8 percent decline in smartphone sales in the two firms’ mainstay domestic market.
Nevertheless, the adoption of fourth-generation mobile networks in China, the world’s biggest mobile phone market, is a boon for ZTE and rival equipment vendor Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, which each won over 25 percent of the $3.2 billion 4G tender of No.1 carrier, China Mobile Ltd.
$1 = 6.2190 Chinese yuan renminbi Editing by Christopher Cushing