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Nokia's sales in China lose the ring tone

NOKIA Oyj's sales in China plunged 36 percent in the fourth quarter year-on-year, the biggest drop among all the regional markets for the world's No. 1 mobile phone maker, Nokia said yesterday.

The global economic slump made consumers more reluctant to replace their phones and distributors reduced their stockpiles, which made phone sales drop, industry insiders said.

Nokia China, however, remained the biggest single country market globally through sales. In the fourth quarter, Nokia China's sales hit 12.9 million units, down 36.1 percent from a year ago and 34.8 percent compared with the previous quarter.

Globally speaking, Nokia's sales dropped 15 percent year-on-year in the quarter.

"The global financial crisis has affected people's confidence and the distributors have been more cautious," said Sandy Shen, an analyst at Gartner Inc, a US-based IT consulting firm.

"Nokia still controls the No. 1 market position and its lead position won't change in the mean time," Shen said.

But the tough economic environment will influence demand for advanced models and this will affect the business of all handset makers.

According to the company's fiscal report, by the end of 2008, the average price of a Nokia handset was only 71 euros (US$92), compared with 83 euros a year ago.



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