SHENZHEN — ZTE, China's largest listed telecoms vendor, has brought in Cohn & Wolfe to lead global PR duties, the Holmes Report can reveal.

Cohn & Wolfe is tasked with supporting ZTE's public relations across Asia and Europe, regions where it is eyeing substantial expansion, after being slapped with export restrictions in the US, for alleged violation of sanctions against Iran.

It is understood that the assignment is worth as much as US$1m, covering global strategy and corporate, B2B and B2C media and analyst relations.

The win extends ZTE's existing remit with Cohn & Wolfe tech brand Axicom in Europe. ZTE's mobile devices division, which includes handsets, continues to work with WE Communications in EMEA and Asia-Pacific, and is understood to have extended this contract for a third year recently.

ZTE has stepped up its international marketing investment in recent years, in a bid to build its global brand. In particularly, the company's new global growth strategy revolves around the mobile internet of things.

The company recently reported a 9.3% rise in 1H profits, with China's adoption of 4G technology helping to offset the impact of US restrictions.