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Nokia CEO Stephen Elop in Kenya, says country a strategic hub

Dennis Mbuvi | Feb. 10, 2012
Stephen Elop, Nokia Chief Executive Officer was in Kenya today for a high profile visit, which only takes him to two out of the 57 African countries, Kenya and South Africa.

Elop said that Nokia had made changes to where different sales offices were and where they served. This though he said, should not bring confusion over the structuring of an office with the investment in the region. "There are fewer people in the Nairobi office, that is true, but at the same time, there has been a number of changes in terms to the amount of investment and work that Nokia is doing with developers and its research facilities. These are routine changes around the world, " he added.

Nokia is going through various changes since it made a change of strategy in February 2011, says Elop. This has seen new products introductions, such as the Lumia range of high end phones and the Asha line which targets low income markets like Africa.

Elop announced that Nokia would be increasing investments in Kenya and Eastern Africa to the tune of 25 per cent more than they did a year ago. The investments will be in the form of Nokia's Research Centre in Kenya, which is one of its kind in Africa and Indian sub-continent. Other investments will go to helping local developers build Nokia applications, marketing and go to market activities that "are necessary to ensure success."

"It's very much the case, that as we have gone through various changes in our organisations and our structure, we have made a very conscious decision to make Kenya one of our worldwide hub for innovations from where we can serve Africa and parts of Middle East. That is why I am visiting here over the last couple of days, " said Elop.

Nokia however does not provide specific amounts of investment per region, for competitive purposes.

Nokia's new strategy also targets its low end devices, which have resulted in devices such as the dual SIM phones, which Elop says has been very remarkably successful in all the markets they have entered including Eastern Africa. This is despite Nokia being late to the dual SIM market by a number of years.

In October, Nokia introduced the Asha family of phones, which while not smart phones, they have more capabilities than many feature phones. The Asha phones come with the Nokia browser, which compresses the amount of data consumed by the phone hence keeping the consumer's cost much lower as they surf on the phone. The Asha range also has location features which enables use of mapping technology.

"You will continue to see new products and new families of products specifically targeted at the lower price band. What you will always see is more and more capabilities and more services brought to consumers who are spending smaller amounts of money on their devices, it is our focus as we go forward, " said Elop.


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