HMD global bets on new Nokia devices to double sales in 6 months

HMD Global, which sells Nokia brand phones, expects to double its sales in the next six months, supported by a whole series of device launches, including a 4G feature phone that challenges the JioPhone, in addition to increasing local production capacity.

"We expect to double our sales and increase our production capacity by about 2x in the next six months," said Ajey Mehta, head of the country India for HMD Global, to ET, without further detailing the figures.

HMD Global, which has released nine smartphones this year and has rolled out Nokia 6.1 Plus and 5.1 Plus on Tuesday, focuses on this festive season with various offers.

"The festival season in India is the biggest sales season of the year and we are prepared for it, we have plans for each festival in different states and this can be the best party season we have had in a long time," Mehta said.

Nokia has failed to reach the top five for smartphones – dominated by Chinese players and Samsung – but has grown 8% from 3% a year ago to reach third place in the feature-phones segment, which is led by 4N-characteristic telephone from Reliance Industries, JioPhone, with a share of 47%, followed by Samsung.

The Finnish company, which has eight telephones in India, plans to have a greater impact in this segment with its own 4G function telephone – the Nokia 8110 – that the JioPhone will take on.

"We have our 8110, which we will bring to the market this year," Mehta said.

The function phone, also called the banana phone because of its curved shape, tries to grab a cake from the 500 million customers who do not own a smartphone. This is the same market Jio is targeting and has sold more than 25 million in a year.

HMD has previously said that it is talking to Indian telcos for a connection with its 4G feature phone for competitively pricing the device against JioPhone, which is available for a refundable deposit of Rs 1,500, and for a little more than Rs 1,000, including charging, in exchange for another function phone. The Nokia device in itself is available for more than Rs 4.000 on the world market.

"We are among the top 3 feature phones and have grown in market share and volumes, despite the fact that the 2G, 3G category has shrunk a little," Mehta said. According to Counterpoint Research, Jio had 47% of the market average in the second quarter of this year, while Samsung and Nokia had 9% and 8% respectively.

HMD, which Foxconn has as its production partner, said it has started assembling printed circuit boards (PCBs) in India.

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