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ZTE's US leader will now become the global head of its mobile business

ZTE has named its US head, Lixin Cheng, to be the new global leader for its mobile business, after he helped to strengthen the company's US marketshare.

Published onApril 19, 2017

The head of ZTE‘s US division, Lixin Cheng, just got a big promotion. A new report confirms he will become the new global leader for ZTE’s mobile business. The news comes just a few weeks after ZTE reached a settlement with the US government over illegal shipments that the company made to Iran and North Korea.

ZTE CEO Lixin Cheng talks growth, the future of 5G and more at CES 2017

Reuters reports that the move was likely due to Cheng’s ability to keep ZTE’s market share growing in the US, even though the company had the looming threat of a long-term hardware import ban. Earlier this year, the US government ordered ZTE to pay $1.19 billion for violating the country’s restrictions to send US-made technology to Iran and North Korea (ZTE phones contain parts from US-based companies). The US Commerce Department has now removed ZTE from its “trade blacklist” as a result of this settlement, and ZTE has vowed to abide by this agreement.

Even with that cloud over it, Cheng helped to lead ZTE’s growth in the US market, even as its share decreased in its home country of China, due to competition from rivals like Xiaomi and HUAWEI. ZTE’s plan to release budget and mid-range phones to no-contract carriers and retailers have helped it to become the fourth largest smartphone vendor in the US, with a current market share of 11.6 percent.

ZTE recently launched the Prestige 2 smartphone in the US, via Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, for just $80. The company will launch its first smartwatch, the ZTE Quartz with Android Wear 2.0, in the US on Friday, April 21, via T-Mobile for just $192.

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