HMD Global, the Finnish company behind Nokia phones, aims to be among the top-five smartphone brands within three to five years. The company launched its first set of smartphones running Google’s Android OS at MWC last year, but its global ambitions became evident only with the anouncement of new devices at MWC 2018 on Sunday.
“Our ambition is to become again one of the leading players, which means, top five or better in the next three to five years,” said Florian Sieche, CEO and President, HMD Global in an interview with CNET.
At its MWC event on Sunday, HMD Global announced five new mobile phones – Nokia 1, Nokia 6 (2018), Nokia 7 Plus, Nokia 8 Sirocco and Nokia 8110 4G. Like last year, the company resurrected Nokia 8110 feature phone also referred to as ‘The Matrix Phone’ to add nostalgia value to its product placement. It announced Nokia 1 as its cheapest smartphone running Android Oreo (Go edition), while all the three models are based on Android One.
With the new announcements, HMD Global has one device for every price segment, and it is also making its ambitions clear. Since it started selling smartphones globally in June 2017, HMD Global has managed to gain some traction among consumers. According to Counterpoint Research, HMD Global is bigger than brands like HTC, LG, OnePlus and Sony in the smartphone business. It is also estimated to have around 1 percent market share globally.
Sieche says HMD Global is among top-five smartphone brands in 15 markets already, but it is far from being a major brand in key markets like China, the US and India. HMD Global is taking significant steps to improve its position in the Indian market, which is the fastest growing smartphone markets globally. However, Sieche says HMD Global doesn’t have any plans to enter the US market this year.
It seems the company is taking a very calculative approach and it makes sense to not enter the US market, which is majorly dominated by Apple iPhone. It is very easy to say that HMD Global needs to enter the US market in order to become the top-five player globally. Huawei, the third largest player globally, has tried to enter the US market to improve its market share, but its effort failed with no carrier partnerships.
At MWC, HMD Global was right to say that it has done phenomenally well as a new brand in its first year. However, the smartphone market is far more competitive, and HMD Global needs to convince consumers to upgrade from their existing devices to reach the coveted goal.