India has now become the second largest market for Nokia in terms of sales - ahead of even the US. Over the last three years, India has been gaining significant ground year-on-year moving from fourth position in 2005 to third position in 2006, and is today poised right behind China.
Making the announcement in New Delhi today, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, president and CEO, Nokia Corporation said: "India is playing an increasingly important role in the global economy buoyed by impressive economic growth, skilled manpower and tremendous business opportunity.
"Today, India hosts a comprehensive Nokia R&D, manufacturing and design presence. Moreover, we are also the country’s leading provider of wireless infrastructure through Nokia Siemens Network, the newly-merged entity. This not only reiterates our commitment and belief in the market but also underscores India’s emergence as a strategic resource hub for Nokia globally."
The company also announced that its manufacturing plant in Sriperumbudur, Chennai has reached production volume of 60 million handsets (August 2007), and is exporting half of its production to 58 countries across Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
The company currently employs over 9,000 people and has 95,000 outlets with 50,000 exclusive Nokia brand stores. The Chennai manufacturing plant alone employs 4,700 people, 70% of which are women.
Nokia Telecom Park has received investments of $500 million (around Rs 2,043 crore) with seven global component manufacturers likely to generate in excess of 30,000 jobs when fully functional.
Clearly buoyed by the growth of Indian economy and the telecommunications segment, the company is looking at the country as a focused market. Its recent act of issuing a prompt ‘product advisory’ (the company does not call it a recall) for the BL-5C battery manufactured by Matsushita Battery Industrial shows how sensitive it is in maintaining its reputation.
The feedback that the company received post its advisory also reiterates its position in India. On the very first day of the opening of its centre (August 16) for advice on the faulty batteries, Nokia India answered 20,000 calls and received 1.45 lakh SMSes.