ZTE, one of China's largest network equipment and phone suppliers, is set to buy US$3 billion worth of semiconductor components from five US technology vendors.

ZTE signed the purchase agreements on Monday with Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Freescale Semiconductor, Altera Corp. and Broadcom Corp.

The company will be making the purchases over 3 years as a way to increase investment in the US market, said Ye Weimin, senior vice president for ZTE. "We are keen to deepen our relationships with both US suppliers and telecom carriers in order to meet the needs of our US customers," he said in a statement.

ZTE has a growing presence in markets abroad. About 18 percent of the company's operating revenue for the first half of 2010 came from European and American markets.

In August, Version Wireless began offering one of ZTE's handsets. ZTE is also set to begin selling a new tablet device through carriers in Europe later this year. The company also announced in August it had agreed to build telecommunication networks in Hungary.

ZTE has also bought over $4 billion of intellectual property and hardware products from US vendors in the past, it said.