For Nokia phones, India becomes the largest global market

Nokia‘s first year of operations after a re-entry into the mobile devices business has a strong India connect. Fueled by feature phones and in some parts by Android-run smart devices, India has become the largest market for the company globally, enabled by its strong connect with buyers that dates back to the late nineties and early 2000s.

Now owned by HMD Global, the company is banking heavily on India for its resurgence at a time when the market is increasingly being dominated by Chinese heavyweights such as Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Huawei.

India is the company’s biggest market in terms of sales, and is followed by Russia and Indonesia, Florian Seiche, the newly-appointed CEO of HMD, told TOI.

Engagement will grow manifold in India, especially as more and more mobile companies look at striking partnerships with device makers for budget devices, Seiche added.

Nokia is already a strong player in feature phones – having begun operations a few months back with yesteryears best-seller 3310. However, what the company lacks is 4G feature phones, which actually can be catastrophic for its revival considering that data is increasingly becoming the backbone of the Indian mobile market as companies like Reliance Jio are offering 4G-feature phones for as low as Rs 1,500.

Seiche said that Nokia – which is sourcing devices in India from contract manufacturer Foxconn’s factories – is keeping a close watch on developments in the market.

“Our whole business model is built on partnerships, and we are looking at further engagements… We are waiting and watching,” he said, when asked about any possible tie-ups with mobile operators such as Jio, Airtel or Vodafone.

Smartphones is another key area where the company – now armed with Google’s Android operating system – is focusing on. While the flagship Nokia 8 is priced at Rs 36,999 and was launched in September, the company on Tuesday announced the launch of its entry device Nokia 2 which is expected to retail at about 99 euros (nearly Rs 7,500, though India price will be announced over the next few weeks).

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