Chinese telecoms firm ZTE in European pitch

Chinese telecoms company ZTE is looking for an advertising agency to boost its profile in Europe. The company is already in preliminary talks with agencies about the multi-million pound account, with a view to drawing up a shortlist for its European brief in the coming weeks.

The state-owned company, China’s largest listed telecoms equipment supplier, refuses to confirm it is talking to agencies. ZTE, which is based in Shenzhen in southern China, has its European headquarters in London.

ZTE has not worked with agencies outside Asia before but it is thought to want get up to speed with Western marketing as soon as possible. It is among the front-runners to sponsor the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, seeing the games as a chance to build an international profile.

The company is just breaking into the UK and is thought to be working with Marconi on a forthcoming project. Rival Huawei Technologies, another Shenzhen-based telecoms equipment company, is also looking to break into the European market. Last month, it signed a deal to build a third-generation (3G) mobile network for Dutch operator Telfort.

Huawei, which is also in the running to sponsor the 2008 Olympics, beat Ericsson, Telfort’s main supplier since 1998, to the 3G contract.

Both ZTE and Huawei are already sending ripples through the telecoms industry owing to their low prices.

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