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ZTE Spent 2018 Engulfed in International Intrigue

December 27, 2018 / Dan Meyer

China-based vendor ZTE ended 2018 with as much uncertainty as it started – especially when it comes to its ongoing operations in the U.S. The vendor spent the entire year in the center of international intrigue that included claims of espionage, direct intervention from President Donald Trump, a growing list of countries banning use of ZTE equipment, and a $1 billion hit to its bottom line. This year’s excitement actually began in early 2017. That’s when the firm was slapped with $900 million in fines by the U.S. government after it was found to have sold equipment to Iran and North Korea that used components from U.S. companies in violation of a long-standing trade ban. That initial agreement also included a seven-year suspended denial of export privileges, which could be activated if any aspect of the agreement was not met. That catch would prevent ZTE from acquiring necessary equipment components from U.S. companies.