Nokia will begin selling its new line of Lumia phones in China next month. The company is hoping that the product introductions will build momentum for Lumia Windows phones in China and other countries. The Lumia phones will be sold through one of the country’s largest mobile operators. Nokia is also planning to begin selling Lumia phones in the United States and Latin America later this year.
Nokia previously announced plans to phase out smartphones using its own Symbian operating system in favor of the Windows system built during the company’s collaboration with Microsoft over the past year. Kevin Wang, an analyst at the research firm IHS Global Products and Services, said, “Nokia’s Windows phones will greatly help the company improve its market performance in China.” The Lumia 800C and 610 will run on China Telecom’s wireless network.
The Nokia Lumia 800C, the first model being released, is a third-generation smartphone that uses the new Windows operating system. China Telecom will begin selling the Nokia Lumia 800C in April. Nokia’s least expensive Windows smartphone, the Lumia 610, will be available for sale by June. Nokia anticipates being able to sell its full line of Lumia smartphones, which includes the Lumia 710, 800 and 900, in China by the end of June. China Telecom currently has around 126 million customers.
Nokia has been shifting its focus to speed its recovery in the lucrative market for smartphones in China. Nokia timed the introduction of the Lumia 800C to coincide with an anticipated surge in growth in the booming Chinese smartphone market. Sales of smartphones are expected to rise to 120 million this year, from 65 million in 2011.
Nokia has been a longtime employer and supplier of phones in China. Nokia employed 22,568 people in China in 2011 and sold about 65.8 million cellphones last year, generating sales of $6.7 billion. China accounted for 17% of Nokia’s global sales in 2011.