HELSINKI, Nov 26 (AFP): Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker, said Friday that over the first nine months of the year it had sold 23 million handsets in China, an increase of 77 per cent compared to the same period a year ago.
"For the combined Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan markets, we now have an estimated device market share of well over 30%," Nokia chief executive Jorma Ollila said in a speech in Beijing, published on the company website.
During the first three quarters of 2005, the Finnish company made 3.3 billion dollars (2.7 billion euros) in sales in China, while its exports from the Asian country ticked in at 2.3 billion dollars.
"China currently has 380 million mobile subscribers. We believe that by 2010, China will have added another 250 million mobile subscribers, making it the single largest mobile market in the world," Ollila said.
China, with its 1.3 billion inhabitants and with 60 per cent of its telecommunications already mobile, holds the promise of massive future growth for operators and phone makers.
The number of mobile phone subscribers in the country is expected to reach 520 million in 2008 and 600 million two years later, according to predictions presented at an industrial forum in Shanghai at the beginning of November.
The harsh competition between foreign and local players for Chinese mobile phone customers is thus expected to become starker in years to come.