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Middle East and Africa strong market for Nokia, says Elop

Abdul Basit / 8 February 2012

DUBAI - The Middle East and Africa is stronger market for Nokia in terms of market share and specially the UAE for high replacement rate of device.

This was stated by the Finnish company chief executive officer Stephen Elop during a roundtable meeting with some regional journalists in Dubai on Tuesday.

“Middle East plays really important role because the Middle East and Africa is that area where we have relative to other regions a stronger position in market share wise,” Elop told reporters.

It’s higher in the Middle East than many regions, he said. Citing the UAE example, he mentioned that the region has strong potential for growth on high-level income group in the region.

“I think if you look at different markets throughout the region clearly there are some where the higher prices smart phones are more popular based on income level,” he said, adding that it varies country to country  the rate at which people do replacement of device. “For example here in the UAE the replacement rates are relatively high and that’s ….. the opportunity,” he said.

He mentioned that the company’s confidence level is high on early result of its windows-powered phones. He said the company has sold over a million such devices since the launch of the Lumia line in the fourth quarter.

Including other models, the Finnish company sold 19.6 million smartphones in the last quarter, down from 28 million a year earlier. The mobile phone maker has posted a fourth quarter net loss of 1.07 billion euros on slump in sales by 21 per cent.

Defending the losses, he said its because of some financial restructuring last year. “What drives these losses principally is that over the last year we have done a number of financial restructuring activities,” he said. But on operating basis it was profitable business, he added.

Regarding further adjustments this year and profit forecast for 2012, he said: “It’s the case that the year that just passed had series of restructuring adjustment. We have not announced any further adjustment at this point.”

As related to the Middle East and Africa, he said: “We have very strong market share on a number of products.” He mentioned that the company also pays special focus on local content and language and that’s the reason there is an average 2 million downloads a week in Saudi Arabia nowadays. He said there are around 60,000 Apps available at windows compared to 6,000 in last February.

Regarding entering in tablet market, he said there is no plan at the moment. “Our focus today is on smart phones. We have not announced specific tablet plan.

He mentioned that there is competition with Apple and Android market and “We respect competition.” He mentioned that Nokia welcomes and support other vendors of windows phones. “Samsung is doing windows phones and HTC the are our friends,” he added.

abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com

 
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