Quest to Conquer

Andy Zhang, general manager, Government and Enterprise Business Unit at ZTE UAE, outlines the company’s channel development plans in the region and how it intends to influence partners to embrace solutions selling.

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Quest to Conquer Andy Zhang, general manager, Government and Enterprise Business Unit at ZTE UAE.
By  Manda Banda Published  March 18, 2014

Andy Zhang, general manager, Government and Enterprise Business Unit at ZTE UAE, outlines the company’s channel development plans in the region and how it intends to influence partners to embrace solutions selling.

Channel: What vertical markets in the Middle East region is ZTE targeting?

Andy Zhang: ZTE is committed to offering ICT solutions focused on a variety of industry verticals that include: energy, transportation, government, public utilities (including education, medical care, the state administration of radio, film and television), finance, internet and supply chain. We want our channel partners to competently provide professional and integrated solutions for government and enterprise customers.

Channel: How are you building your channel business in the region and how is that process unfolding?

Andy Zhang: Channel for us refers to the sales areas that adopt the distribution model and work through partners, including but not limited to SMEs, small businesses and other areas covering education, security, banking and government sectors. The partners ZTE is engaging in the region include general IT distributors, industrial-focused agents, Gold, Silver and Senior agent. For most of the industry segments, the channel, especially distributors cover a larger chunk of our business. Channel partners have been classified as general distributors, level A agents, Gold distributors, Silver distributors, Gold, Silver and Certified agents.

Channel: What is ZTE’s channel engagement philosophy in the Middle East region?

Andy Zhang: Following the philosophy of “mutual benefits and win-win cooperation,” ZTE is willing to establish strategic partnerships with outstanding enterprises to provide excellent solutions and services for customers. Currently, vendors like Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Avaya, and Honeywell are key strategic partners of ZTE. In the field of vertical industries, ZTE has established alliances with more than 300 industrial application providers through the implementation of the company’s ISV ecosystem plan, which provide customers with innovative cutomised solutions offerings.

Channel: What is ZTE’s go-to-market strategy going to be for the Middle East regional channel?

Andy Zhang: ZTE has developed a channel network globally and covers all high-end markets. In nearly a year of pushing the enterprise business, ZTE has signed contracts in multiple countries. For Middle East Market, we are looking forward to developing partners and exploiting the market together, while learning from the experience from other countries and emulating some of the successes in those countries with our localised market approach in the region.

Channel: How has ZTE tiered its distribution and reseller channel in terms of coverage in the region?

Andy Zhang: As pointed out earlier, ZTE is working diligently to build a global channel network for its enterprise business and has so far, already signed over 1800 channel agents in 28 countries and around the globe. We have 30 professional partners worldwide focusing on government, education, health care industry, video and data communications. We are aiming to deepen our channel partnerships with the top tier enterprise-focused solution providers in the region and technology retailers that can carry our offerings to end-users of all sorts.

Channel: What products, technologies and solutions will drive ZTE business growth in the Middle East this year?

Andy Zhang: As a vendor that takes pride in investing in R&D, we are striving to meet all the requirements of the channel markets that ZTE is addressing through partners in the Middle East. Products that are in the market include data communication products, video conferencing solutions, converged communication offerings, information security products, power solutions, home terminals, servers and storage systems. All these areas will drive growth for us.

Channel: What support functions will ZTE offer to channel partners across the Middle East region?

Andy Zhang: ZTE will provide end-to-end support for all channel partners in the region, addressing certain specific initiatives like branding and other marketing and channel awareness campaigns. We will also work closely with general distributors to ensure that they are engaging the correct partners every quarter. In addition, the company will be rolling out and supporting the distribution channel with training and skills transfer schemes.

Channel: What do you see as main challenges for ZTE in the Middle East and Africa market?

Andy Zhang: Although ZTE is a global provider of ICT solutions with strong competitive products, it is a newcomer in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) market. We face some challenges ahead but we are optimistic that we will learn and research the MEA channel and come up with strategies that our partners will find appealing in helping them to get into new business opportunities. With the planned ZTE branding initiatives in the channel market, we are aiming to establish relationship all types of channel partners and customers. We strongly believe that the MEA channel market is a growing market with huge potential. The timing is right for ZTE to strengthen its business in MEA and we have the confidence to develop our business with a long-term view of partnering with FDC.

Channel: How does signing FDC’s ProValue Division help ZTE to reach out to the Middle East region?

Andy Zhang: As pointed out that we are a new entrant in the Middle East market, ZTE hasn’t had enough time  in terms of understanding the market dynamism, business culture in the various countries and will need time to understand the workings of the local channel. Signing FDC’s ProValue Division is an important milestone for us to enter the local market. The deal proves ZTE’s philosophy of mutually beneficial alliances. FDC has a wealth of experience in the regional channel and we will exploit their channel to reach out to partners.

Channel: Why did ZTE select FDC’s ProValue Division as its distributor?

Andy Zhang: ZTE has consistently adhered to the idea of working with local partners in a given country or region. Combining with local partners means that, ZTE will be in a stronger positions to compete with other vendors but most importantly, provider our resellers with products and solutions that give them the competitive edge. We are now in a position to open up the government and enterprise markets, by working with channel partners here in the Middle East region. FDC plays an important role in not only ensuring that the products are getting to resellers, but that other value-added functions like reseller funding schemes, logistics, marketing, RMA and after-sales services are handled by them.

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