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ZTE aims high, hopes to sell 100 million smartphones by 2015

As it dips deeper into the U.S. market, the Chinese phone manufacturer plans to increase sales and release two phablets.

ZTE CEO Shi Lirong during his keynote address at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Roger Cheng/CNET

In addition to its presence at this year's Mobile World Congress, and the steady number of devices it's offering to the U.S. market, Chinese phone manufacturer ZTE is setting its sights even higher.

According to Reuters, the company is worth $9.3 billion, sold 15 million smartphones in 2011, and is the fourth largest handset manufacturer in the world.

The company projects that it will sell 50 million smartphones by the end of this year, and is aiming for 100 million by 2015.

It also plans to release two devices that are crosses between a phone and a tablet, similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note, by the end of this year.

In addition, instead of rolling out new models, ZTE plans to upgrade two of its previous handsets, the Skate and the Blade. Since its release two years ago, 8 million Blade devices have been sold.

Reuters reported that if the company wants to "take on Apple's iPhone and Samsung Electronics' Galaxy," one of its biggest obstacles will be cultivating brand recognition.

An analyst from the research firm IDC, Teck-Zhung Wong, told Reuters that with the exception of China, "no one really knows ZTE."