Net profit reached 2.64 billion yuan ($424.5 million) on revenue that rose 8 percent to 81.2 billion yuan, preliminary results showed. Both figures were slightly lower than the 2.82 billion yuan profit and 84.12 billion yuan revenue estimated by 13 analysts in a Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate poll.
               
ZTE fired up its overseas expansion in the past year with various big-name marketing efforts, as it looks to become one of the top global handset manufacturers. The company's U.S. arm is the official smartphone sponsor of basketball teams New York Knicks, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors.
               
However, it has seen its efforts thwarted by a slowdown in handset sales at home and the rise of compatriot startup and tech darling Xiaomi Inc. Xiaomi became the world's third-biggest smartphone maker last year, shrugging off an 8 percent decline in smartphone sales in the two firms' mainstay domestic market.
               
Nevertheless, the adoption of fourth-generation mobile networks in China, the world's biggest mobile phone market, is a boon for ZTE and rival equipment vendor Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, which each won over 25 percent of the $3.2 billion 4G tender of No.1 carrier, China Mobile Ltd.