, HELSINKI, March 2, 2011 – The world\’s leading mobile phone maker Nokia said Wednesday it plans to open a handset factory in Vietnam next year in order to take advantage of growing markets in Asia.
Nokia said it planned an initial investment of around 200 million euros (275 million dollars) "with further sizeable investments thereafter," the company said in a statement.
Nokia said it had signed a memorandum of understanding in Hanoi with representatives of the communist state, praising the country\’s location and developing infrastructure.
In February, the company revealed a significant strategic shift which included as one of its key missions the goal to connect "the next billion" users to the internet via mobile services.
It said it would be focusing on gaining ground in developing markets, particularly in Asia, where the mobile giant faces competition from a myriad of cheaper knock-off models.
Nokia said the factory in Vietnam was part of its effort to reach the billions of people who do not own a mobile device or have access to the internet.
"Only about 30 percent of the world\’s population is currently online, and we believe we can play a major role in connecting the next billion not just to their first phone but to their first internet and application experience," executive vice president Esko Aho said.
Nokia already owns ten factories in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, including China, India, and Korea.
The company\’s chief executive Stephen Elop, who took over last September, announced a major strategic shake-up of during Nokia\’s capital markets day in London in February.
Changes included abandoning its Symbian smartphone platform in favour of a Microsoft tie-up and "substantial" job losses.