Nokia Restructuring to Protect Lead in Busy Smartphone Market

Nokia Thailand is undergoing a major restructuring by setting up a specific wireless “ecosystem” division to drive its device and application service bundling strategy.New managing director Grant McBeath aims to apply Nokia’s success strategy in Thailand to other emerging markets.


The Finnish mobile handset maker says it still leads the Thai smartphone market, even though Apple overtook it in terms of global share in the second quarter.


Grant McBeath, the new managing director of Nokia Thailand and emerging Asia, said the company was setting up a new division to specially take charge of device and application bundling with its partners, mobile operators and Microsoft in particular.


The company also plans to broaden its distribution channels upcountry.


Mr McBeath said Nokia had reduced the number of targeted market segments from 13 to four growth groups.


It plans to launch the Nokia N9 model in the second half of this year, targeting buyers in the price range exceeding 15,000 baht for the first time. It also plans to launch its first Windows-based phone this year.


In Asean, he said, Nokia had maintained its market leadership in Thailand and Indonesia even though they were dynamic markets with intense price competition, thanks to full product portfolios and strong local partnership.”We will apply our successfully proven practices from the local team to other emerging countries including Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka,” Mr McBeath said, adding that that this was why he had been assigned to take responsibility for those emerging countries for the first time.


Nokia plans to open five more Nokia shops in the provinces, bringing its total to 27. It will also set up a new business unit, called “ecosystem device experience”, working with mobile operators and local software developers to develop bundled device and applications services.


Nontawan Sindhvananda, head of multimedia business, said the reduction of customer segments from 13 to four would improve efficiency.


The four segments comprise units priced at 15,000 baht and up, 10,000 to 15,000 baht, 6,000 to 8,000 baht, and below 3,000 baht.


Wichit Purepong, general manager of GfK Retail and Technology (Thailand), said sales of Nokia’s Symbian operating system handsets still led the smartphone market in Thailand in volume in the first half of this year, followed by Google’s Android OS phones.


But in terms of value, Apple’s iOS was the leader followed by BlackBerry and Android.


Sales of smartphones in Thailand are expected to reach 2.2 million units this year, up 30% from last year.

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