Nokia is establishing a new manufacturing site near Hanoi in northern Vietnam as a major step toward the company achieving its goal of connecting the next billion people to the internet.
Nokia plans an initial investment of about €200m, with additional investments thereafter.
In a ceremony in Hanoi, representatives of Nokia and the Vietnamese government signed a memorandum of understanding marking the beginning of preparations for the plant, targeted to open in 2012. The site would further expand Nokia’s manufacturing network, which now consists of 10 facilities in nine countries.
The new site is also being established to meet the growth in demand for feature phones, as well as help Nokia to deliver a contemporary mobile experience to the next billion consumers all over the world.
The opportunity is huge, Nokia said. Almost 90pc of the world’s population lives within range of a mobile signal, yet there are 3.2bn people who do not own a mobile device. Of the estimated 3.7bn people who do own a mobile device, less than half use it to access the internet.
“Only about 30pc 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,” said Esko Aho, executive vice-president, Nokia.
Vietnam has both the location and developing infrastructure that made it a good choice for Nokia. Nokia began selling products in Vietnam in 1996.