For all the big deal ZTE wants to make itself out to be in the United States, it is really having a rough go at the consumer market in its native China — to the point where, according to chairman Zhao Xianming, the company has “encountered its biggest crisis in its 31 year history.”
Not a good way to start off 2017.
The company has laid off 3,000 workers or about 5 percent of its ranks of 60,000. Approximately 600 of those pink slips will go to those working on handsets for the Chinese market. A local manager told Reuters that employees who had tried to attain jobs at successful rival Huawei are also being let go for being “unstable factors.”
Its entire smartphone business seems to be in constant jeopardy as well, thanks to looming sanctions from the US Commerce Department. The manufacturer is cooperating with the investigation into its breach of sanctions for selling equipment to Iranian businesses. While those sanctions, which would block ZTE’s ability to source components from United States companies like Qualcomm and Microsoft, have been put off for about a year, President-Elect Donald Trump may effect them once he establishes his regime at the White House later this month. Trump accuses the Chinese of interfering with its currency and vows to “take jobs back” from the Asian region in general.
The company is also in a gap period serving its telecommunications partners between the end of 4G development and the beginning of 5G deployment.
Other businesses have been leaching on ZTE’s bottom line as well.
“In 2017… business that don’t fit our strategic direction or with low output performance will be shut, suspended, merged or reconfigured, improving the company’s core competitiveness,” Zhao said in transcripts posted to ZTE’s official WeChat account.
Obtained memos show that four new executive-level positions have been created to oversee investment, auditing, compliance and taxes.