ZTE invests $314M in e-book service

Chinese phone equipment maker's decision to support China Unicom's WoReading service will help it diversify beyond networking products to other computing services, report notes.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

Chinese phone equipment manufacturer ZTE is looking to move away from its core business selling networking gear by investing 2 billion yuan (US$314 million) in a facility to support China Unicom's e-book service, a report stated.

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that China's second-largest telecom equipment maker will be expanding its Internet center in Changsha over the next three years, and will hire more than 1,000 workers from the 300 working there currently, according to ZTE Vice President Yu Yifang. The center will support China Unicom's WoReading e-book service, which was started in April this year, he added.

The ZTE executive also said in the report that WoReading had about 21.5 million registered users as of Oct. 31, and allows users to download books, magazines and audio books on their phones.

This investment is part of the company's broader strategy in diversifying its business, the report noted. ZTE President Shi Lirong had said on Nov. 17 that it sees "very big potential" in winning computing services contracts from carriers that are existing buyers of its network equipment, while Chairman Hou Weigui said in May that cloud computing will account for one-third of ZTE's sales within three to five years, Bloomberg noted.

The company is also building up its mobile handset business, placing its bets on both Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone operating systems, according to a ZDNet Asia report. ZTE's executive vice president Xie Daxiong added that the company wants to become one of the world's top three mobile phone vendors by 2015.

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