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ZTE claims it's hiring, not firing

Mobile giant says rumours are wide of the mark

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Chinese telecoms outfit ZTE has hit back at rumours suggesting it will respond to sliding market share and a scary balance sheet by shedding 12,000 staff. Instead, the company says, we can expect a graduate hiring spree.

The Shenzhen-based firm, which last week warned that profits for the first half of 2012 could fall by as much as 80 per cent year-on-year, sent The Register the following statement:

ZTE is not planning any lay-offs this year and thousands of college graduates will join the company to work in R&D jobs, etc. The company is also committed to building up local employment in overseas markets, and continues to hire experienced local staff. To reinforce the strategy of internationalisation, ZTE is committed to promoting local staff to local management level to serve local markets.

Pretty unequivocal, then, from the world's fifth largest producer of telecommunications equipment.

It had been suggested that the firm has already been forced to undertake three rounds of redundancies and staff recalls from overseas offices since Chinese New Year.

Falling market share in the face of fierce competition, slowing demand and cash flow problems associated with several large, complex projects were given as the major reasons.

Having laid those concerns to rest, however, ZTE still has to deal with a number of potentially damaging investigations into alleged shady business practices.

The FBI is conducting one of these into allegations that the firm illegally sold US technology to Iran and then tried to cover it up.

ZTE refused to comment to The Reg about the investigation, but it appears the Chinese government has now waded into the affair.

Speaking at a Ministry of Commerce press conference on Tuesday, spokeswoman Shen Danyang told reporters, “We hope [ZTE] will receive objective, fair and proper treatment from the US”, according to Reuters.

The investigation comes at a delicate time for ZTE. Like its Shenzhen neighbour Huawei, the firm is trying to convince US lawmakers that its products don’t represent a national security risk to the States.

The US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee is investigating alleged ties with the Chinese government after fears were raised that kit produced by the two telecoms giants could give back door access to state-sponsored snoopers. ®

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