Nokia entering Korean market for the third time
SK Telecom, the largest mobile phone operator in South Korea, announced on Monday of their negotiations with Nokia on supplying their phones for SK Telecom shops, possibly by the end of the year.
This isn’t the first time the mobile phone giant attempts to break into the Korean market; it is, in fact, the third.
Last time Nokia withdrew from Korea in 2003 under orders from company HQ in Helsinki, when after millions in investments and opening of R&D center in Seoul, they only managed to conquer a ‘massive’ 1% share of the country’s handset market. The said center was closed down at that time, and Nokia’s OEM agreement with Telson Electronics, one of Korea’s mobile handset manufacturers, was discontinued (more).
Company’s wish to enter the Korean market is understandable; it is, after all, the third largest market in Asia (China and Japan taking the first two places, naturally). While Nokia has 40% share of the worldwide mobile phone market (source), the market in Korea is largely dominated by four companies: Korea’s own Samsung, LG and Pantech, as well as US-based Motorolla.
South Korea is one of the leaders in 3G technology; the mobile phone market there is fast-changing and dynamic. However, this is not the only reason why it is so hard for foreign manufacturers to sell their phones here – there are governmental regulations in place as well, although according to KoreaTimes, these are likely to be eased soon.
What might give Nokia’s phones an equal ground with the competitors in South Korea is the universal W-CDMA platform (a type of 3G network) which was introduced last year, for which the company can produce phones at a good price.
Nokia already has a presence in Korea – a large manufacturing plant – but all the phones produced there up till now were for export only.