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HMD Global Working Closely With Electronics Mfg Service Cos; Keen On Making India Export Hub

India is a priority market for us, not just from fans and from a marketing point of view but also from a production and manufacturing point of view.

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HMD Global, which sells Nokia brand of mobile phones, is working closely with Indian electronics manufacturing services (EMS) companies and is keen on making the country an export hub in the future, a senior company executive said.

The company, which has introduced six new Nokia phones across three distinct lines, is also focussed on bringing 5G phones to the mass market.

'India is a priority market for us, not just from fans and from a marketing point of view but also from a production and manufacturing point of view.

'We are already manufacturing 100 per cent of our devices that we are selling today in India, and starting from last year, we are working closely with some of the Indian EMS partners,' HMD Global Vice-President Sanmeet Kochhar said.

He added that the company is keen to work with the Indian government and Indian suppliers to see how it can set up a base for manufacturing in India.

'To that extent, we started last year with Indian EMS suppliers and we have now a few for our phones which are manufactured by India EMS partners.

'We are working with them closely to see how we can get the PLI (production-linked incentive) benefit, which the government of India has rolled out,' he said.

The government had introduced a PLI scheme offering incentives to companies manufacturing smartphones in the country.

The proposals cleared under the scheme include those from domestic and international companies entailing an investment of Rs 11,000 crore to manufacture mobile phones worth Rs 10.5 lakh crore over the next five years. The companies include iPhone maker Apple's contract manufacturers Foxconn Hon Hai, Wistron and Pegatron, apart from Samsung and Rising Star.

HMD Global CEO Florian Seiche said, 'Definitely, there is an (export) potential that we are strongly looking at. But, right now, our focus is on broadening the partnerships and strengthening those in India, because obviously, we still have a lot of opportunity in India to capitalise on. But, then once this is in place, we for sure would love to also utilise this, even for export purposes.' HMD Global unveiled six new smartphones on Thursday – Nokia X20, Nokia X10, Nokia G20, Nokia G10, Nokia C20 and Nokia C10 – across three distinct product lines (top-of-the-range Nokia X-series, intermediate G-series and entry-level C-series).

These six devices are priced between 75 euros and 349 euros (about Rs 6,600- 31,000) (prices will depend on local market availability).

'Past 12 months have no doubt been challenging. Yet, they also gave us a moment to pause, think and prepare for the next big step in our start-up journey.

'As a Finnish company, our approach to technology and business is human-first and that is reflected in this new smartphone range,' Seiche said.

He noted that there was an initial impact of COVID-19 as physical retail stores were closed, and distribution channels had to adapt to this new reality and people are buying devices online.

'However, the key challenge is regarding securing the supply and we are working super closely with our key component vendors to secure that supply for us because for 2021, we do have an ambitious growth agenda,' he said.

The supply of chipsets, which sit at the heart of electronic devices, has been significantly hit amid the pandemic as demand for gadgets skyrocketed as people worked and studied from home.

Asked about the company's roadmap for 5G devices, Seiche said the 'strategy is for sure to bring 5G to the mass market'.

He added that the company wants to provide devices that are future-proof, offering monthly Android updates and two years of OS updates, so that users do not have to worry about security of their devices.

'So, even if 5G network only goes live at the end of this year, if you have to decide today (to buy a Nokia device) soon as that 5G network goes live, you automatically benefit from that,' he said.