KARACHI, May 15: Nokia for the first time on Tuesday unveiled two new mobile phone models from Pakistan for world markets. The country with astonishing cellphone demand, however, has not figured on the manufacturing investment map of the world’s top cellphone maker.

The executives said that Nokia cellphones were produced in nine countries including India and China.

Haseeb Ihtisham, Area Head of Marketing, Near East Nokia told Dawn that investing in setting up a manufacturing plant is a ‘complicated commercial decision’ that involves development of a parallel vendor industry to feed the parts and accessories. “Stability is very important in the country of choice,” he hinted.

He also ruled out the possibility of providing Indian-made Nokia to the Pakistani market, as China feeds Pakistan market under a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) without any duty. “People are getting Chinese made Nokia phones at competitive price.”

Currently cellphone is also on negative list from imports from India. “I do not think that cellphone arrival from India will provide any price benefit to the end-users as the difference will be very minimal,” Haseeb said, adding quality of Nokia phones made in any part of the world is the same.

However, he said that Nokia had invested heavily by setting up nine care centres and 800 care collection points all over the country. On employment side, the company had only three staffers five to six years back which multiplied into hundreds currently.

He said the company was continuously considering and monitoring its expansion plans but on setting up a mobile manufacturing base in Pakistan, he refrained from making a formal comment but gave an impression that no such proposal was on the table.

When asked that importer/distributor of branded Chinese phones claimed to have captured 30 per cent market due to cheap prices, he said he cannot give the Nokia’s current market share but claimed “Nokia enjoys dominance. Being a market leader our share has been improving for the last six months. Future is also bright.”

“As people have trust on our phone we do not feel threatened,” he added.

Head of Nokia Mobile Phone Business Unit Middle East and Africa Calin Turcanu also reiterated that nine cellphone making units in various countries are positioned to fulfil world wide requirement.

He said he cannot comment on setting up manufacturing plant in Pakistan and even on the company’s current market share as these are policy issues being dealt by other departments. However, he told Dawn “Pakistan is important and a competitive market”.

Pakistan’s total imports of mobile phones rose by 30 per cent in July-March 2011-12 to $514.2 million as compared to $397 million in the same period of last fiscal year.

Earlier, Vice President Near East, Nokia Imran Khalid Mahmood said that the company continued to accelerate its strategy to connect the next billion consumers to information and internet.

The estimated retail price of Nokia 110 model and its single SIM version is about Rs3,800 while the retail price of 122 model is about Rs4,300. Both the devices have Nokia browser which allows users to consume less data by up to 90 per cent by compressing websites in the cloud. Both devices offer direct access to Facebook and Twitter from their homescreens.

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