ZTE's Pain Could Be Coolpad's Gain as It Pushes Deeper Into U.S.

(Bloomberg) -- With Chinese smartphone manufacturer ZTE Corp. facing an uncertain future in the U.S., rival Coolpad Group Ltd. is looking to pick up the slack.

Coolpad, which already holds around 3 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, estimates it can boost its shipments the country to between 6 million and 7 million devices next year, up from an expected 4 million this year, said Charlie Parke, senior vice president of sales at Coolpad Americas.

The company’s phones sell through MetroPCS, T-Mobile US Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., and it’s in talks to begin selling devices through Verizon Communications Inc., Parke said. It’s also in talks to offer new devices through Sprint Corp. and AT&T Inc., he said. Coolpad is pushing deeper into the industry at a time when consolidation looms; T-Mobile and Sprint are hoping to merge.

The company could benefit after the Commerce Department imposed sanctions again ZTE, saying it violated a 2017 sanctions settlement related to trading with Iran and North Korea. While the U.S. government is mulling further restrictions against ZTE and Huawei Technologies Co., President Donald Trump said in a tweet Sunday that he’s working with the Chinese president to give ZTE “a way to get back into business, fast.”

“What Huawei and ZTE are experiencing does open a couple of opportunities, but it doesn’t change our core strategy,” Parke said. “We are seeing that the carriers are becoming more cautious about becoming too dependent on one provider, and trying to diversify their portfolio a bit more. All four of the major carriers, and even carriers outside of the U.S. are reaching out to us now looking for opportunities to partner.”

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