Mar. 4 – The Finnish multi-national communications corporation Nokia just announced its US$275.8 million investment plan to build up a new manufacturing plant in Vietnam’s Bac Ninh Province near Hanoi, hoping the new facility will “play a key role” to “connect the next billion to the web” via cell phones.
Nokia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment on March 2, with the agreement on an initial US$275.8 million investment and a massive investment following later on.
The new Vietnam plant, which is an addition to the nine existing major Nokia manufacturing plants worldwide in Brazil, Mexico, Finland, Hungary, Romania, the United Kingdom, China, India and South Korea, will start production in 2012.
Juha Putkiranta, senior vice president of Nokia, told the press during the MoU signing ceremony that he is “extremely excited about this opportunity and about the support and commitment that Vietnam has offered to Nokia.” He emphasized that Vietnam is an emerging economy with both good location and improving infrastructure; making establishing the Nokia plant in the country a good choice.
At the same time, Nokia’s Executive Vice President Esko Aho said he is confident that the new project will provide the next billion with not only the opportunity for cell phone use, but also access to internet via mobile phones.
According to Aho, there are still 3.2 billion people in the world nowadays who don’t have the opportunity to use mobile phones, while 1.5 billion people among the 3.7 billion mobile phone users do not have access to internet via their handsets.
Nokia, which started selling its products in Vietnam in 1996, boasts 50 percent of the country’s market share by selling approximately US$500 million worth of mobile phones every year. The company hopes the coming manufacturing plant will not only improve Nokia’s direct investment in Vietnam, but also expand its global market share by attracting more mobile application providers to Vietnam to supply applications from Vietnam to the whole world.
The new Nokia manufacturing facility will become the second major mobile phone factory in Vietnam, following the Korea-based conglomerate company Sumsung’s US$1 billion plant project in 2009. The plant brought Sumsung a total export value of US$2 billion in 2010.