Sources close to the FPT Trading Company, Nokia’s distributor in Vietnam, told VET that “Nokia is quietly returning to Vietnam”, with staff being recruited and trained in preparation.
But a Microsoft representative declined to comment when asked about the move by VET on August 17.
Two Nokia Android smartphone models will also be officially launched, in early 2017.
Nokia returns after Microsoft announced the sale of its feather phone assets to a subsidiary of Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology, FIH Mobile, and a newly-established company called HMD Global last May.
Microsoft purchased Nokia’s mobile phone business for $5 billion in April 2014.
Microsoft Vietnam said the deal will see Microsoft transfer all of its feather phone assets, including brands, software and services, customer contracts and supply agreements to FIH Mobile and HMD Global.
As part of the deal, FIH Mobile will acquire the Microsoft Mobile Vietnam factory in northern Bac Ninh province.
Nokia ceased its smartphone business in 2014 following the launch of the Lumia 930. The new smartphones in Vietnam will not come from the Finnish parent company, the Nokia Corporation. HMD Global has a ten-year license to sell Nokia products.
Mr. James Rutherfoord, CEO of Mobile Device Commodities of Microsoft Asia - Pacific, told a meeting with the FPT Trading Company in July that two new feather phones and two new smartphones would be launched in the fourth quarter of this year and the second quarter of next year.
HMD Global will be responsible for research and development, marketing, and business for Nokia-branded products, he added. The new smartphones will be of good quality and sold at competitive prices.
They will feature genuine software and applications such as Viber and Facebook and be different from other brands such as Samsung, Oppo, Vivo and Huawei in both hardware and software.
“HMD Global believes that the return of Nokia will satisfy the expectations of agents and customers who like the Nokia brand,” Mr. Rutherfoord was quoted as saying at the meeting.
“The company is working with partners and suppliers to renew the Nokia brand in Vietnam in the time to come.”
HMD said it will invest more than US$500 million over the next three years to support the global marketing of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, funded through its investors and profits from the acquired feather phone business.
Meanwhile, Microsoft will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile and support Lumia phones from OEM partners, the company said.
Two years ago the Microsoft Group moved a large number of Nokia production lines from factories in China, Hungary and Mexico to Vietnam.