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Nokia Conquers China

When you run a highly competitive international marathon, it is not important to end first. It is more important to never give up, and conquer the final line with a sense of accomplishment, targets met, and vision to the future. This is exactly what Nokia (NYSE: NOK) is quietly doing.

Long-awaited good news reached Nokia when the Finnish manufacturer was proclaimed the second strongest mobile phone brand in China. Samsung took the first place, whereas Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), beaten by Nokia, was left in the third position. There is only a little difference in points between Samsung and Nokia, though, having both companies obtained 542 vs. 530 points respectively. Apple, however, ended with 411 points. The three electronics giant manufacturers are listed on the latest China Brand Power Index for 2013, which is funded by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and released by the China Brand Research Center.

Headquartered in Finland; Embraced in China

Nokia, a struggling company that keeps sailing the turbulent  seas of mobile phones, enjoys the No. 2 mobile brand in China.

Nokia, a struggling company that keeps sailing the turbulent
seas of mobile phones, enjoys the No. 2 mobile brand in China.

Power of brand
According to a China Daily report, the 2013 Brand Power Index survey covered 30 cities nationwide. It examined the brand awareness and loyalty of 13,500 residents in the ages of 15 to 60 years old. Considered the most-trusted brand evaluating system chosen by both consumers and companies, The Brand Power Index aims to help consumers in making wiser purchases at the same time that helps companies in finding better systems for brand management.

Nokia was China's leading mobile brand for many years before it started to decline, leaving a wider territory to Samsung and Apple some years ago at the beginning of the smartphone era. In other words, when Apple launched its first iPhone, creating the smartphone fever that we all know, Nokia saw a black cloud above its otherwise clear horizon. Certainly, Nokia has done good brand work in previous decades, which obviously has influenced today's resulting conquer of the Chinese market.

Nokia is determined to conquer Asia, and other emerging markets, with its budget smartphones. (See: Nokia Forges On With Low-Cost Asha 310 .) Nokia Lumia 520's pre-orders started this week in China at 1,299 yuan, or $200, non-subsidized, and a zero yuan subsidized price.

Long-term outlook
Additionally, and timely to give Nokia's brave tribe a new motivational kickstart, on March 28, Nokia published its annual report for 2012. In the report, which is available in PDF format through Nokia Financials, Nokia reinforces its long-term financial targets for its devices and Service Business, and Nokia Siemens Networks.

A struggling company that keeps on sailing the turbulent seas of the mobile phones despite the many difficulties and storms certainly deserves to be recognized for its perseverance. Therefore, join me today to celebrate Nokia's effort. I believe it's fair to wish Nokia good luck in conquering more destinations in the never-ending struggle for conquering the heart of the mobile devices' consumers.

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46 comments on “Nokia Conquers China

  1. Ariella
    April 5, 2013

    @Susan consider yourself joined in celebration. We can toast some virtual champagne. 

  2. Cryptoman
    April 5, 2013

    As previously a loyal customer who has afterwards become a deeply disappointed one with the purchase of an N8, I am glad to hear this news. I take my hat out to Nokia for coming the second biggest smart phone brand with such close points to the global giant Samsung.

    For me the most important aspect of this development is the first and second places are not exclusively shared by Samsung and Apple in China. That is such a refreshing and positive change for the market. I hope Nokia manages to carry this success further.

  3. Susan Fourtané
    April 5, 2013

    Ariella, 

    Yes! What a nice idea. 🙂 Cheers! 

    -Susan

  4. Susan Fourtané
    April 5, 2013

    Cryptoman, 

    What disappointed you about the N8? Have you tried one of the Lumias? 

    Indeed, this is quite a refreshing change. It seems we are going to be witnessing some more during the course of the year. 

    -Susan

  5. t.alex
    April 6, 2013

    This is really promising for Nokia. I think Nokia is also having tough fight against local brands like ZTE or Huawei.

  6. Wale Bakare
    April 6, 2013

    Good news indeed. I can hardly get reasons why Nokia could not fight it out with Samsung and Apple in smartphone markets. And, I hope Nokia's China success gets replicated in other markets too. 

  7. _hm
    April 6, 2013

    Surveys are good but not really so reliable. I would also like to know market data too. What does the sales figure indicate? We should compare survey with actual data. I wish good luck to Nokia and it can provide alternate to Apple and Google.

     

  8. Adeniji Kayode
    April 6, 2013

    @Cryptoman. That is a good news. I hope this success will spread to the rest of the world and not China alone

  9. Adeniji Kayode
    April 6, 2013

    @ t.alex,

    You are right, those are major Nokia competitors despite Nokia's succes in China. Its still a fact that Nokia has more quality than them though.

  10. Adeniji Kayode
    April 6, 2013

    @ Wale,

    I just made a similar comment with yours. China compared to the rest of the world, Nokia has a big work to do and many competitors to cope with.

  11. SunitaT
    April 7, 2013

    Long-awaited good news reached Nokia when the Finnish manufacturer was proclaimed the second strongest mobile phone brand in China.

    @Susan, thanks for the post. This is very good news for Nokia. Popularity of Nokia mobiles is on the rise after it released Lumia series, I really hope Nokia will soon reach the top spot. 

  12. SunitaT
    April 7, 2013

     Its still a fact that Nokia has more quality than them though.

    @Adenji, I agree wtih you. Nokia provides one of the best quality hardware features compared to other handsets which is more reliable. This is what attract more customers to be loyal to Nokia brand. 

  13. SunitaT
    April 7, 2013

     I hope this success will spread to the rest of the world and not China alone

    @Adeniji, yes Nokia needs to repeat the same success story in other parts of the world if it has to retain the top post. More and more people are opting for windows based OS smartphones because they are more secure compared to android and iOS and this will definitely help Nokia to capture the smartphone market. 

  14. SunitaT
    April 7, 2013

    Surveys are good but not really so reliable.

    @_hm, surveys are very crucial to know the mood of the customers. No doubt sales figures are important but surveys tell you what customers think. If customers are very positive about the brand then it might lead to improved sales in future. 

  15. SunitaT
    April 7, 2013

     I can hardly get reasons why Nokia could not fight it out with Samsung and Apple in smartphone markets.

    @Wale, one of the reasons why Nokia could not fight it out with Samsung and Apple is it didnt choose proper OS for its smartphones. Eventually it decided to stick with Windows OS which helped Nokia to compete with Samsung which is relying on Android. Advantage of Winows OS is its more secure and reliable compared to Android OS.

  16. SunitaT
    April 7, 2013

     I think Nokia is also having tough fight against local brands like ZTE or Huawei.

    @t.alex, I guess many end users dont prefer chinese products because they lack quality, moreover Nokia is selling low-cost mobile phones which means people will prefer Nokia over ZTE or Huawei.

  17. Susan Fourtané
    April 7, 2013

    t.alex, 

    ” I think Nokia is also having tough fight against local brands like ZTE or Huawei.”

    There is always a fight with someone else. Now, how do you see Nokia competing with ZTE or Huawei? Any thoughts on that?

    -Susan

  18. Susan Fourtané
    April 7, 2013

    Wale, 

    “I hope Nokia's China success gets replicated in other markets too. “

    This is quite possible. China is a big and important market in handheld devices. It centaily will influence other markets in which Nokia is already looking for a better position. 

    -Susan

  19. Susan Fourtané
    April 7, 2013

    _hm, 

     “I would also like to know market data too. What does the sales figure indicate? We should compare survey with actual data.”

    Did you see this link in the article? http://www.nokia.com/global/about-nokia/investors/financials/reports/results—reports/ Here you can see the latest Q4 and annual financial reports from 2012, which indicate sales data. 

    -Susan

  20. Susan Fourtané
    April 7, 2013

    tirlapur, 

    You are most welcome. 🙂 

    “Popularity of Nokia mobiles is on the rise after it released Lumia series”

    Yes, there is no doubt that the Lumia series have had a great impact in Nokia's recovery, and it seems to go in the rise. 

    -Susan

  21. Susan Fourtané
    April 7, 2013

    tirlapur, 

     “More and more people are opting for windows based OS smartphones because they are more secure compared to android and iOS and this will definitely help Nokia to capture the smartphone market. “

    How do you see Samsung's Win8 phones in comparison to Nokia's Win8 phones?

    -Susan

  22. Cryptoman
    April 7, 2013

    @Susan

    I had responded to your question on why I was not happy with N8 yesterday but for some reason my post has not been published.

    Maybe it got censored by the site. I thought we could discuss things openly here.

    Anyways, in a nutshell the reason why I was disappointed with N8 is as follows:

    – Very poor battery life

    – Poor touchscreen response

    – Slow operating system

    – Phone shut itself down and did not come back to life only after 6 months I bought it.

    After my disappıointment with N8, I never looked at any Nokia smart phones after that.

    Despite my earlier disappointment with Nokia, I do recognise and credit its success in China. I hope this success continues globally to establish a healthier competition in the smart phone market.

     

     

  23. Susan Fourtané
    April 7, 2013

    Cryptoman, 

    I don't think your comment got censored. We can ask Brian if there has been a glitch of some sort lately. Sometimes that happens. I believe I saw your post yesterday. I was just not able to reply at that moment, so I left the replies for today. 

    I understand your disappointment with N8. I would have felt the same. Did you try the guarantee? Maybe there was something bad with that particular device? I am just guessing here. Those you mention seem quite important problems, indeed. 

    -Susan 

  24. Susan Fourtané
    April 7, 2013

    Cryptoman, 

    Yes, I cannot find your comment, and I am pretty sure I saw it yesterday. I will ask Brian. 

    -Susan

  25. Wale Bakare
    April 7, 2013

    To make further addition to that –  i had this view about its management unable to reach a timely and conclusive decisions whether adopting Android OS or otherwise sticking with is traditional Symbia cost Nokia the position its in smartphone markets today. Firm like Nokia needs to take a clamant strategy when its needed. 

    So also, money and time wasted on Meego OS with Intel 2 or 3 years ago, this, another contributing factor for its inability to compete with rivals.  Well, with the news coming out from China that might probably be a turning point for Nokia in smartphone world markets. Hopefully!

  26. Cryptoman
    April 7, 2013

    @Susan

    Thank you for trying to track down my comment. I am sure it was a glitch in the system. Luckily the content was fresh in my mind so I was able to re-post 🙂

    I also had issues with the WiFi on that phone which went away after some time. Maybe a software update seamlessly fixed that problem.

    My N8 got repaired through the warranty agreement but the trouble was because I bought it on my trip to Dubai, I had to send the phone to the seller over there. Nokia did not provide international support for the smart phone so that I could get it fixed in one of the local services. The local office urged me to send it to the original seller abroad to be able to take advantage of the warranty. That was the second disappointment of mine with Nokia. While accepting my cash for their products they pay little attention to the original currency I pay with but when it comes to providing customer support where you buy the device matters. This is not acceptable for a “multinational” company like Nokia.

    Am I too demanding as a customer you think?

     

  27. Adeniji Kayode
    April 7, 2013

    @ tirlapur,

    You are rigght on that, What Nokia should do in such situation is ti bring the price of it product down so that comsumers will be able to get attracted to its quality and performance again.

  28. Susan Fourtané
    April 8, 2013

    Cryptoman, 

    I just noticed that one of my comments on the iPhone vs. iFone article has also disappered. The five stars rating from this one is also gone. 🙁 There is definitely something happening. I'll see what Brian says, and I'll let you know. 

    Yes, it was good that you could post your comment again, and is quite important.

    “Am I too demanding as a customer you think?”

    No, you are not too demanding as a customer. You are right, and should have been given a phone replacement, I think. You went to too much trouble with that N8. Not providing international support doesn't make any sense to me. I totally understand your frustration. 🙁 

    -Susan

  29. Susan Fourtané
    April 8, 2013

    Wale, 

    ” i had this view about its management unable to reach a timely and conclusive decisions whether adopting Android OS or otherwise sticking with is traditional Symbia cost Nokia the position its in smartphone markets today.”

    Yes, Wale, you are right. The price for not making the right decisions in time was too high for Nokia. 

    And about Meego, the people who worked in the project are at least reviving the OS, and putting it into good use with a new smartphone. 

    -Susan

  30. SP
    April 8, 2013

    Agreed the decision of going ahead with proprIetary OS made lot of difference in Smartphone business for Nokia. Also earlier there was a trend among people to buy Nokia phones even if its basic model but now its changing to Samsung. Not surprised that Samsung is up in no.1 position.

  31. Daniel
    April 9, 2013

    “Nokia when the Finnish manufacturer was proclaimed the second strongest mobile phone brand in China. Samsung took the first place, whereas Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), beaten by Nokia, was left in the third position.”

    Susan, brand surveys are OK and it's purely based on certain pre defined parameters. What about market sales & revenue generation? Whether they have enough sales in China for survival?

  32. Daniel
    April 9, 2013

    “To make further addition to that – i had this view about its management unable to reach a timely and conclusive decisions whether adopting Android OS or otherwise sticking with is traditional Symbia cost Nokia the position its in smartphone markets today. Firm like Nokia needs to take a clamant strategy when its needed. “

    Wale, you are right, they had failed to take a suitable decision at right time. Eventhough Nokia was one of the partners in Android development consortium; they failed to implement it and finally embraced windows by sacking their own OS Symbian. Their also they had failed with misson.

  33. Daniel
    April 9, 2013

    “And about Meego, the people who worked in the project are at least reviving the OS, and putting it into good use with a new smartphone. “

    Susan, once anybody/product has lost their market share, then it's difficult to capture it. So I don't think its so easy to get their share with Meego, especially when Android is stronger.

  34. Susan Fourtané
    April 9, 2013

    Jacob, 

    I am not talking about Nokia and Meego. I am referring to Jolla and Meego. It's a different story. Jolla's founders and most of its team were Nokians.

    -Susan 

  35. Susan Fourtané
    April 9, 2013

    Jacob, 

    Did you see this link in the article? http://www.nokia.com/global/about-nokia/investors/financials/reports/results—reports/ Here you can see the latest Q4 and annual financial reports from 2012, which indicate sales data. 

    Surveys on customer satisfaction imply customers who have used the the brand's products: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2013-03/25/content_16341240.htm

    From NokiaPowerUser:  http://nokiapoweruser.com/2013/03/25/lumia-520-booking-opens-in-china-1299-yuan-off-contract-and-free-on-contract-with-china-unicom-plans/ 

    “Lumia 520 bookings finally opened today in  China at Nokia's  official “ Jingdong Mall” online shop. The off-contract is price is very sweet at  Yuan 1299, but  on-contract price is sweeter with  Lumia 520 Free on China Unicom plans. There seems to be  two free gifts of “ Mobile external battery” and “ Lumia 520 cover“. The device is available in three colors  Black, Cyan and Yellow. With  Lumia 920, 920T, 820 and 620 doing really well in China,  Lumia 520 is the  low-end juggernaut, Nokia is depending to bring  the crowd to them, and it may very well do that !” 

    Susan

  36. SP
    April 9, 2013

    Oh if Jolla is developed by ex Nokia people then its a different ball game. Looks like some management and engineering issue.

  37. Susan Fourtané
    April 9, 2013

    SP, 

    Where do you see management and engineering issues? Are you referring to Nokia or to Jolla? 

    -Susan

  38. t.alex
    April 9, 2013

    I am not sure Susan. I belive chinese customers would prefer home-grown brands.

  39. Susan Fourtané
    April 9, 2013

    t.alex, 

    What makes you think that? Did you check the link to the survey, and the other links? The results would have been different if Chinese customers would prefer local brands. Samsung, Nokia, and Apple –in that order– are the three most preferred brands in China. 

    -Susan

  40. prabhakar_deosthali
    April 10, 2013

    This is really a promising news for NOKIA lovers like me. China is a huge market for mobiles and the Chinese are cost conscious consumers. If the Nokia is able to place itself between Samsung and Apple with all the local brands trailing then it is surely a good revival sign for Nokia.

  41. Susan Fourtané
    April 11, 2013

    Prabhakar, 

    I am you like the news. 🙂

    China is a huge market for mobiles and the Chinese are cost conscious consumers. If the Nokia is able to place itself between Samsung and Apple with all the local brands trailing then it is surely a good revival sign for Nokia.”

    Yes, exactly. And I believe that after China, other markets willl equally have good reactions. What do you think about this?

    -Susan

  42. Daniel
    April 11, 2013

    Susan, thanks for the links. It's happy to see that Nokia is performing well and to be proud as a Nokia E5 customer. But i personally prefer that they have to come up with various other OS based products with Android, Windows, Symbian etc, like LG and Samsung.

  43. Susan Fourtané
    April 11, 2013

    You're welcome, Jacob. 

    ” But i personally prefer that they have to come up with various other OS based products with Android, Windows, Symbian etc, like LG and Samsung.”

    Why would you prefer that? Do you think that would signify a better or faster recovery for Nokia?

    -Susan

  44. prabhakar_deosthali
    April 12, 2013

    I agree with you Susan.

    If China can be captured then other huge markets like India where Nokia has a good following can surely be recaptured if the right product at right price is made available by Nokia in feature phones as well as smart phones. Especially the feature phones still have a good market potential in India especially in rural parts where the basic functionality is more important than the gizmos.

  45. Daniel
    April 12, 2013

    “Why would you prefer that? Do you think that would signify a better or faster recovery for Nokia?”

    Susan, Yes. Hence they can targeted all level or flavor of customers. The same strategy has adopted by Samsung.

  46. Daniel
    April 15, 2013

    “If China can be captured then other huge markets like India where Nokia has a good following can surely be recaptured if the right product at right price is made available by Nokia in feature phones as well as smart phones”

    Prabhakar, I don't think it's so easy because the mobile penetration or density in India is high when comparing with ant country. If they want to recapture the market, it has to be superior to the existing devices in market with a reasonable good price.

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