Nokia Gets It Right for South Asia
The mobile-phone maker has blanketed India with handsets tailored to the country's people and their environment
By Jack Ewing
Since 2003, Finnish mobile-phone maker Nokia has been selling handsets designed specifically for India with features such as dustproof cases (crucial in dry rural areas) and flashlights (helpful during the frequent power outages). The designs are one big reason Nokia now claims more than 70% of the Indian market for handsets using the GSM digital standard.
India is a lucrative market, too, generating $3.7 billion in revenues for Nokia last year. Contrary to projections a few years ago, tens of millions of Indians have been willing to spend several months' income on a handset because of the dramatic effect that connectivity can have on their lives.
On May 3, the company unveiled seven new handsets with additional India-friendly features designed to maintain Nokia's dominance there. To keep the growth going, Nokia is increasingly marketing to the two-thirds of Indians who live in rural areas. The push requires unconventional marketing, including a fleet of Nokia minibuses that park in villages and explain to people how mobile phones work and how people can buy one.
Click on for a look at Nokia's latest Indian products—plus an entry from Motorola.