ZTE eyeing 4G network contracts from Chinese mobile operators

In an evident attempt to turn around its fortunes for the better, China's ZTE Corp - the fifth-ranking producer of telecoms equipment in the world - is banking on a new generation of tech-savvy smartphone users for driving at least $7.5 billion (4.9 billion pounds) of high-speed 4G network projects.

Though ZTE has, over the last few years, been expanding aggressively in overseas markets and is deemed a global telecoms giant, the company is now turning back to its Chinese roots, and is looking to seek 4G network contracts from domestic mobile operators, including China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom.

With the Chinese governmental authorities likely to issue 4G licences later this year, the three bigwig mobile operators in the country have plans underway to spend a total of 345 billion yuan (36.7 billion pounds) on network expansion in 2013.

The amount which these three mobile operators intend spending on network expansion this year will include investment in 4G network, which facilitate high-speed data downloads for the millions of users of the Apple iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy line of devices.

Noting that the "cash-rich" mobile operators in China make the Chinese market "like a gold mine," ZTE spokesman David Dai Shu told Reuters: "It (China) is a top priority for us by country."