Eyeing aggressive growth in India, Finnish company HMD Global – which sells the Nokia brand of phones – is working hard towards manufacturing its own components in the country, a top company executive has emphasised.
The company, which has sold 70 million Nokia devices globally, has grown its business nearly five times in the past eight months in India.
According to Counterpoint Research, Nokia was at fifth spot in the feature phones market with 6 percent share (as of December 2017).
“We are following the phased manufacturing programme. In line with this, we have started having conversations with our partner Foxconn to manufacture our own components in the country,” Ajey Mehta, Vice President and Country Head-India, HMD Global, told IANS in an interview.
“It will happen over a period of time. We may be a little behind, but it will eventually happen and the components that attract import duty will be manufactured here,” Mehta added.
With an aim to boost domestic manufacturing, the government has imposed a 10 percent duty on import of key components such as camera module and printed circuit board assembly.
The company said it will also work with Foxconn to set up surface-mount technology lines.
Surface-mount technology (SMT) is a method for producing electronic circuits in which the components are mounted or placed directly on to the surface of printed circuit boards (PCBs).
“It will take some time, but we will do that for sure,” Mehta told IANS.
HMD Global got the licence in 2016 to sell Nokia-branded devices for the next 10 years and displayed its first line-up last year.
It is also mulling about expanding its portfolio to enter all price segments in India.
To create ripples in the Indian premium smartphone market, the Finnish company just launched its flagship Nokia 8 Sirocco, along with two other mid-segment devices – the Nokia 6 and Nokia 7 Plus – that run Android One, the unmodified Android operating system (OS).
“We put our best foot forward with Nokia 8 Sirocco. It is made out of steel, is 95 percent glass and is a performance-packed device in a compact design. We are confident about it,” the top executive noted.
Highlighting the importance of feature phones, Mehta said: “The end game is to be a full-range player. Feature phones are also a big opportunity. We will continue to invest in feature phones and refresh some of them over a period of time”.
The competitive landscape has changed significantly in the last one year with the rise of brands such as Reliance Jio, Nokia HMD and Itel in the feature phone segment.
Last year, HMD Global worked on “building the blocks” in India and, this year, it is looking for collaborations (such as a tie-up with IPL cricket team KKR) to enhance the value of the brand in the country.
HMD Global has also launched the Nokia Mobile Shop – its own online shop for all Nokia handsets and accessories in India.
“We are truly running a worldwide business now. We are serious about consumers in India, including those using feature phones,” said Pekka Rantala, Chief Marketing Officer, HMD Global.