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ZTE Aus Considers Wider Local Offering

ZTE is perhaps best known in Australia as a budget manufacturer that supplies Telstra’s own-branded devices. After all, they’ve been doing it for ten years.

Now, however, the brand is striking out on its own and is keen to cultivate a local audience.

Phase one of this market strategy took place in the second half of 2016, with ZTE rolling out a digital-driven ‘soft launch’ for its “affordable” flagship – the Axon 7.

Phase two saw them build on that momentum, bringing the Axon 7 and smaller Axon 7 Mini to customers through JB Hi-Fi.

ChannelNews spoke with ZTE Australia’s Account / Channel Manager Wayne Cornell about the brand’s positioning within the Australian market and how they plan to take on 2017.

While they aren’t the only budget-phone player pushing the line of a cheaper flagship product, Cornell insists the Axon 7 has the edge when it comes to audio.

The Axon 7 supports Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound audio. ZTE say it goes beyond being “the best audio hardware integrated into a handset so far,” featuring two dedicated audio chips often found in high-end audio players and professional grade recorders.

Wayne says that feature helped guide the company to strong sales over the Christmas period, citing high demand from tech-savvy early-adopters.

The Mini supports Dolby Atmos at a cheaper price point than the Axon 7, but drops Daydream support and features only a single dedicated audio chip.

Wayne indicated to ChannelNews that ZTE will continue distribute products through online storefront going forward.

He said they see it as complimentary to the retail channel and said they were in the process of considering expanding their local offerings to include products offered by overseas divisions of the company, such as their Axon smartwatch.

With regards to their future smartphone offerings, Wayne couldn’t speak to whether or not ZTE would follow the trend away from full metal body designs but expressed confidence that the company’s Axon series would continue to prove a hit with local customers.

The Axon 7 is on sale now for $699 and is available in two colours: ‘Ion Gold’ and ‘Quartz Grey’. The Axon 7 Mini is also on sale now for $498 in ‘Ion Gold’ and ‘Platinum Grey’. Both can be purchased exclusively from JB Hi-Fi.

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