(Yicai Global) May 17 -- HMD Global Oy, current owner of the Nokia brand, plans to set up a research lab in China's southern tech hub Shenzhen as it looks to bulk up business in the world's biggest smartphone market.
Finnish HMD will set up the Nokia Mobile Global Future Lab to focus in four areas: 5G technology, materials and manufacturing, imaging technology and user experience, Juro Sarvikas, chief product officer, said yesterday at the release of the firm's X6 handset in Beijing.
The move is a significant step for HMD to make waves in China, he added, saying it will help the firm fulfill its objectives in the country. China's smartphone market dipped annually for the first time last year, slumping 4 percent to 459 million handsets shipped, but remained the world's largest.
"HMD still needs to improve its market channels in regions like China to restore Nokia's performance as soon as possible," Jia Mo, a research analyst at Canalys, told Yicai Global.
HMD took over Nokia after buying it from Microsoft Corp., and began marketing handsets at the end of 2016. It has since released 16 products and sold 70 million phones worldwide, according to its own data.
The Finnish brand had struggled to keep up with competition from the likes of Apple Inc. and Google Inc.'s Android operating system for several years before being acquired by Microsoft.
"The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don't have a product that is close to their experience," then Chief Executive Stephen Elop said in a memo in 2011. The firm partnered up in an exclusive deal with Microsoft that year, opting to use Windows Mobile instead of its own operating system Symbian. It hit a financial wall in 2013 and was bought by Microsoft early the following year.
Editor: James Boynton