ZTE USA CEO Cheng Lixin and Houston Rockets CEO Tad Brown announced their joint holiday charity program Season of Giving prior to the second annual ZTE Title Night on Saturday at the Toyota Center.
Both Cheng and Brown indicated that a year and a half into the partnership, they are very satisfied with the relationship, as both share the same goals: aspire to serve the community as well as win in their respective fields.
"It's great to be in a partnership which continues to grow," said Brown. "The Season of Giving is the affirmation of what we expected of the partnership. Part of the baseline of the relationship was built on Season of Giving. It's important to our organizations because it gives us a chance to give some to those who are underserved and in need."
"ZTE has grown in the last year," said Cheng. "We are now a solid No 4 in the smartphone market, and we are No 2 with 20% market share in no-contract based smartphones. Prior to last season, the awareness of our brand was 1 percent among US smartphone users; now it has gone up to 16%."
Cheng said that moves such as placing ZTE signage around the Rockets' basketball court also increased the company's branding.
"Due to our pleasant partnership with the Rockets last season, this season we also expanded our sponsorship: We are also the official smartphone of the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors," said Cheng, who said that the ZTE phone can now be bought at the teams' shops.
Brown said that ZTE USA's sponsorship has allowed the Rockets of the National Basketball Association to expand their Season of Giving program: "This year, we also teamed up with the Urban League so on last Thanksgiving Day, our players and ZTE employees delivered gift cards and gift baskets to 65 families."
The families were mostly grandparents raising their grandchildren.
According to Cheng and Brown, Rockets players and ZTE employees also spread holiday cheer to children at Memorial Hermann Hospital last week by having parties and bringing gifts to hospitalized children. The next charity event will be held before Christmas — a holiday extravaganza at the Toyota Center for 100 local children from the Boys & Girls Club, Fifth Ward Enrichment and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
ZTE also picked Patrick Beverley, a guard for the Rockets, as the player who endorses products for ZTE, which is headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.
"It's beneficial for us to pick one player whose character matches our brand's image of being young, energetic, fit and promising for the future; that's why we work with Pat in the local area while also working with the Rockets as a team," Cheng said.
During Saturday's ZTE Title Night game, the big screen played videos of ZTE-sponsored charity events. ZTE focused on consumer engagement by awarding a Twitter game-winner with a ZTE smartphone.