China has a very competitive smartphone market. Apart from popular manufacturers like Samsung and Apple, the market is catered to by dozens of local manufacturers who rarely ship their devices outside of the People’s Republic. ZTE is one such company but it has its sights set on expansion. To push that cause forward it is reportedly “aggressively poaching” talent from struggling smartphone manufacturers in the West, BlackBerry and Motorola Mobility to be precise.
The Canada-based BlackBerry has already laid off thousands of employees over the past couple of years as it struggles for relevance in the increasingly competitive global smartphone market. It was even reported at one point that rival companies had set up recruitment centers in the town where BlackBerry has its headquarters to pick up talent that had been laid off.
The now Lenovo-owned Motorola Mobility wasn’t able to put any green on Google’s balance sheets as long as it remained a Mountain View-owned company. These problems presented a perfect opportunity for ZTE to swoop in and pick up anyone thinking to jump ship.
ZTE is making a calculated move here. Former BlackBerry and Motorola employees already have an international background, something that will help the company in its expansion into North America. Moreover, they bring with them product design and security experience which may prove to be vital for ZTE’s future products.
The company’s head of mobile devices, Adam Zeng, told WSJ that ZTE hopes the talent coming in particularly from BlackBerry will “enhance our product security and design capability.”
An influx of new talent might enable ZTE to come up with products that are relevant in the international market. Its a bold bet that just might pay dividends in the future.