By Eric Auchard
BARCELONA (Reuters) - China's ZTE, the world's sixth largest smartphone maker, is introducing new value-priced phone models and aims to sell between 60 million and 70 million devices overall this year, an executive said on Monday.
ZTE Senior Director of Mobile Devices Waiman Lam said in an interview at the Mobile World Congress that the company is cautiously targeting growth of around 60 million units, which would mark a 7 percent rise in unit sales from 2015.
The higher end of its target range, 70 million units, would represent around 20 percent growth over 2015.
ZTE unveiled two new models in its high-volume, value-priced line and unveiled a new sports marketing partnership with Spanish soccer club Seville, taking a page from a strategy that has turned ZTE into the 4th largest U.S. smartphone vendor.
ZTE sponsors five professional basketball teams, including the Golden State Warriors, last year’s NBA champions, and pro golfer Danny Lee, which has driven its U.S. brand recognition.
The Blade V7 Lite offers a 5-inch screen that can be operated with one hand and a fingerprint scanner for users to sign on to the phone. It will initially be sold in Russia and in coming months in markets including Mexico, Spain, Germany and Thailand.
A slightly larger Blade V7 sports a 5.2-inch screen in a metallic case for single-hand use and both front and rear 13-megapixel cameras. Instead of fingerprint security, it offers ZTE's retinal eye-scan feature and goes on sale in summer.
The company has not yet disclosed pricing for the new models, but Lam told Reuters that the larger of the two, the Blade V7, will sell for around 250 euros ($277.95) and the Lite will go for less than 200 euros, or even as low as 150 euros.
(Reporting By Eric Auchard; Editing by Chris Reese)