ZTE celebrates 500 million phones sold, says they’ll focus on boutique devices from here on

ZTE has just published a press release saying the company has sold more than 500 million mobile phones. The company has been making phones for 15 years, so it’s about damn time they hit that milestone. For reference, Nokia, in their prime, used to easily ship more than 100 million mobile phones every three months.

But enough about that, let me focus on the important bit, the part where ZTE talks about what they’re going to do in the future. Apparently they’re tired of being associated with cheap budget handsets, so they’ll be concentrating on “boutique devices” from this point forward.

Now I severely doubt that ZTE will stop making budget phones, but let’s pretend for a second that they do. Devices like the Grand S and Grand Memo will be the main drivers of ZTE’s growth, and while they may be fine for consumers in China, they stand almost no chance of taking off in the West. At least that’s how I feel, and I would love for ZTE to prove me wrong.

While I’ve yet to play with ZTE’s newest phones, I have spoken to many of my friends who attended CES and MWC, and they say that Huawei and ZTE today are where Samsung was just a handful of years ago. That’s telling, because those of us old enough to remember Samsung phones from half a decade ago remember just how terrible they were.

So with that, I raise my coffee mug and wish the best of luck to the Chinese players!