Business / Product

Nokia launches high-end camera phone in China

By Meng Jing in Nanjing (China Daily) Updated: 2013-08-16 07:48

Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia Corp released its camera phone Lumia 1020 in China on Thursday, in a bid to boost its image among Chinese customers and increase overall sales in the country, a senior executive said.

"Any brand needs to have something to show that they have great innovation. This product is our opportunity in China to move up in consumers' minds again," said Erik Bertman, Nokia China's newly appointed general manager.

"It can drive up our brand value, so consumers can perceive our products in a stronger way, which is good for the overall sales of our whole portfolio in China," Bertman said in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, where Nokia launched the smartphone, about a month after the product was unveiled in New York.

The phone, which is equipped with a 41-megapixel sensor and Nokia's PureView technology, including optical image stabilization, is able to take some of the sharpest photos possible with any digital camera, the company said.

It will be sold at a retail price of 5,999 yuan ($980) in China through all the online and brick-and-mortar stores of Suning Commerce Group Co Ltd, a major Chinese home appliance retailer. China Unicom, a telecommunications operator, will also sell the phone with two different contract prices.

Despite the hefty price, which some industrial insiders said is the highest price for a consumer smartphone launched in China so far this year, Bertman said he is confident that there is a market for premium products.

"The Lumia 1020 blurs the line between a great smartphone and a professional camera. It comes at the right time because there's a clear trend that more and more people want to share their photos with their families and friends on social networking systems," said Bertman, who started his new job on June 1. He added that his view was cemented after he used China's popular instant messaging service WeChat for about two months.

China is Nokia's top-priority market and the second largest in terms of sales.

Data from International Data Corp, a global market intelligence firm, showed that China's mobile phone shipments were at 97 million units in the first quarter of the year, up 15 percent year-on-year while China's smartphone shipments totaled 78 million units in the first quarter, an increase of 117 percent year-on-year.

However, Nokia is losing ground to Samsung Electronics Co and Apple Inc in China's high-end market, while in the mid- to low-end mobile phone market, Nokia also faces severe challenges from domestic rivals such as Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp.

According to Nokia's second-quarter financial report released on July 18, net sales of devices and services in Greater China was down 57 percent year-on-year to 232 million euros ($307 million) in the second quarter of the year. The report said that the decline was mainly due to the lower sales of smartphones.

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