Saturday 18 November 2017

Nokia hopes Asia can help lead charge back to top


Ketaki Gokhale

NOKIA chief executive Stephen Elop will get his first opportunity today to win back Asian customers from Android and Apple.

Mr Elop will lay out the company's strategy and show customers new models at Nokia Connection 2011 in Singapore.

It will be his first major speech in Asia since the former Microsoft executive became CEO.

After spending his first months devising a plan to fight Apple's iPhone and phones equipped with Google's Android in Europe and the US, Mr Elop may be turning his focus to fending off Samsung and ZTE in Asia. At stake is a region that's home to the world's two biggest phone markets and where growth is projected to exceed 40pc over the next four years.

"Due to their race with Apple, there was so much focus on the developed markets that this idea of producing and selling affordable handsets was really lost," said Boris Boehm, at Aramea Asset Management in Hamburg.

"They really forgot Asia."

During his nine months as chief, Mr Elop has announced more than 8,800 job cuts, including outsourcing agreements, and said the company would replace its Symbian smartphone software with Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system to revive the world's largest mobile phone maker by units.

Investors aren't convinced. Since he was named CEO in September, Nokia has fallen more than 40pc in Helsinki and is now trading near 13-year lows.

While China led Nokia's markets in the first quarter with a 30pc sales increase, the company said on May 31 that it was facing intensifying competition from local suppliers in the country, driving down prices.

China and the Asia-Pacific region accounted for 45pc of Nokia's device sales in the first quarter.

But that hasn't stopped the slide. Its share in China tumbled to 20.4pc last year from 31.5pc in 2009.

"If you lose the emerging markets from your focus, it's natural that the domestic companies would be able to overtake you in market share," said Mr Boehm. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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