ZTE logo from IFA 2018.

  • A United States judge just penalized ZTE for violating its probation terms.
  • The violation resulted in ZTE’s probationary period to extend by two years, from 2020 to 2022.
  • The probation violation stems from the lack of disciplinary action against 35 ZTE employees.


ZTE is making headlines, but once again not for good reasons. Today’s news centers — as usual — on its previous violations of U.S. trade law.

A U.S. judge found that ZTE violated its previous probation terms by failing to enact disciplinary action against 35 ZTE employees who were directly responsible for the trade law infractions, via Reuters. The punishment is an extension of the probationary period, which originally lasted until 2020. Now, ZTE will be under probation until 2022.

ZTE announced the news on the Hong Kong Exchange in Asia on Thursday.

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For those of you just tuning in, ZTE was found guilty of violating U.S. trade sanctions with Iran in 2017. Not only that, but it was found that ZTE lied about its involvement in the trade deals and worked hard to cover it up.

ZTE eventually pleaded guilty and agreed to a hefty fine of $892 million.

However, earlier this year, ZTE was found violating the trade law again, which resulted in a U.S. trade ban with ZTE, which would have effectively bankrupted the entire company. It was only President Donald Trump who saved ZTE from going under, issuing a $1 billion fine, and the probationary period which has now been extended.

While the new probationary extension is unlikely to disrupt business-as-usual at ZTE, one begins to wonder how many chances the company has before it becomes clear that it can’t be trusted to operate within the rule of law.

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