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ZTE, Rockets partner in charity, business

By MAY ZHOU in Houston | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-21 13:17

ZTE, Rockets partner in charity, business

Children watch a performance of The Adventures of Sana Claus at ZTE and Houston Rockets’ Season of Giving event on Monday night.[Photo by May Zhou/China Daily]

More than 70 children from Houston-area charity organizations, including the Chinese Community Center, enjoyed a night of food, gifts, playing with the NBA Houston Rockets mascot Clutch and watching a play with Rockets players at the Toyota Center on Monday night.

Continuing their holiday charity tradition Season of Giving into its fourth year, ZTE USA and the Houston Rockets brought the children holiday cheer, high-fiving Clutch and taking selfies with him.

Rockets players Trevor Ariza, Tyler Ennis and Nenê, welcomed the children to the temporary "theater" after eating to enjoy a live play, The Adventures of Sana Claus, presented by Express Children's Theatre.

The play is adapted from the classic novel by Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It mixes classic Christmas songs and legends to explore the themes of generosity, hard work and goodwill toward all. The kids seemed captivated by the performance.

ZTE USA CEO Cheng Lixin and Rockets CEO Tad Brown also joined the festivities, serving food and watching the show with the kids.

Both CEOs expressed satisfaction with their four-year partnership.

"We have had the opportunity to grow our relationship over the years," said Brown. "We not only focus on how to help people here in Houston, but also work on how to make our organizations better from the stand point of marketing. We feel the association with ZTE is very beneficial to our organization."

Cheng said that ZTE and Houston Rockets share the same aspirations of winning and serving the community.

"The Rockets have a tradition of valuing the Chinese culture and relationship since they first signed Yao Ming, the first Chinese NBA player," Cheng said. "During the four years, we are growing our brand awareness in the local community. We are No. 3 in US android market share."

According to Cheng, ZTE now enjoys 36 percent brand awareness in the nation.

"ZTE has the largest increase in brand awareness since the time we began to measure our partnership, more than any other business relationship we have," Brown said.

He said that now the vast majority of Rockets fans know exactly what ZTE is and what they do.

When ZTE was planning to expand the market awareness in a strategic way, they used the Rockets as a model. Now ZTE sponsors a total of five NBA teams in the US.

"It helped them across the border and how they are viewed in the US," said Brown, who also mentioned that a big party is in planning for retiring Yao Ming's No. 11 jersey.

"On Feb 3 there will be a big ceremony to retire Yao's jersey. It's going to be an incredible experience. It will be a global celebration," said Brown.

While declining to disclose details, Brown said the Rockets are working to bring in people who meant the most to Yao, his former teammates, for the opportunity to honor him.

"It will be an incredible media event that captures worldwide attention," said Brown. "Just the very idea that he's the very first Chinese player who is not only a Hall of Famer but to have his jersey retired by a professional team is something he and we are proud of. It's a partnership since 2002 and it will last as long as we are together."

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