Houston Rockets ink deal with Chinese telecom giant ZTE

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The fastest growing smartphone in China is teaming up with the fastest growing basketball team in America.

China’s ZTE corp., the world’s fifth largest smartphone maker, inked a deal with NBA’s Houston Rockets to become the official smartphone for the Rockets’ 2013-2014 NBA season.

The deal will allow ZTE the use of the Rockets marketing rights, TV ads and an exclusive Houston Rockets edition smartphone.

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Who’s ZTE?

Based out of Shenzhen, China, ZTE is a Chinese telecommunications equipment and system provider.

In 2012, ZTE was the fourth largest mobile phone manufacturer and the fifth largest equipment maker.

It’s to be the mobile phone of bargain bins but ZTE is rapidly gaining popularity in the US market.

Why the Houston Rockets out of all people?

2013-10-12T101614Z_1798523555_GM1E9AC1ELC01_RTRMADP_3_ZTE-NBA There is a direct correlation between the Rockets and China.

Here’s the basic economics behind the deal.

Basketball is the most popular sport in China. When China thinks basketball, they think NBA. When China thinks NBA, they think Rockets. When China thinks Rockets, they think Houston, Texas, USA. When China thinks Houston, Texas, USA, they think BIG consumer market.

Yao Ming played a massive role in China’s relationship with the NBA/Houston Rockets.

Now, Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin has taken over as the unofficial Chinese ambassador for the NBA.

Nick Bedard (@bedardnick) is the editor-in-chief of Basketballbuddha.com.

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