HMD Global, which manufacturers Nokia smartphones under licence, has secured $230 million in additional investment in order to fund its expansion into new markets and services.
Since reviving the famous Nokia brand in 2016, HMD has secured a niche in the market through its feature-packed mid-range devices. The company has also released some ‘throwback’ feature phones like the Nokia 3310.
To date, 240 million HMD-manufactured handsets have been shipped in 91 countries. The company’s global share is modest but there is a belief that there is an opportunity for the establishment of a major European player because of HMD’s focus on affordability and security.
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Nokia 5G smartphones
It is probable that the current political and economic climate strengthens this view given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and Huawei’s difficulties.
Huawei is currently the worlds' largest smartphone manufacturer but is struggling with US sanctions that limit its access to technologies, including Android. Meanwhile, lockdowns around the world have slowed smartphone sales - however it is thought that 5G could return the market to growth next year.
HMD says the additional resources will be used to make 5G smartphones more affordable, especially in the US, while it will expand in key growth markets like Africa, Brazil and India. There are also plans to go beyond hardware and into services including roaming and cybersecurity.
“Since the very beginning, HMD Global has worked to build strong bonds with our strategic partners,” said Florian Seiche, HMD Global CEO. “This additional investment further validates our long-term business strategy and is evidence of our collective mission to make modern mobile technology accessible to everyone.
“Security, reliability and dependability are the cornerstones of our offering, and we will ensure we are using these funds to deliver the best experiences people have come to expect from a Nokia phone. As the only major European smartphone manufacturer, we remain true to our Finnish roots and the hallmarks that our customers trust Nokia phones to be synonymous with. With the support of our heavyweight partners, I am truly excited for the next chapter of Nokia phones.”
Google, Qualcomm and Nokia are among those to have participated in the latest round of funding. To have such a range of high profile investors across the mobile ecosystem would suggest that the industry believes there is an opportunity too.
HMD has traditionally ensured its devices ship with ‘stock’ Android and the latest security updates, targeting a market segment not catered for by Google’s flagship Pixel range. Meanwhile, a focus on more affordable 5G devices would ensure greater demand for components and encourage operators to invest in 5G networking equipment – developments that would benefit Qualcomm and Nokia.
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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.