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Re-living the startup experience - Florian Sieche HMD Global CEO on resurrecting Nokia

Sindhu Kashyap
22nd Aug 2018
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Florian Sieche, CEO of HMD Global, talks to YourStory on how the Nokia brand is working its way to the top spot, and how the firm aims to make India its number one market.

Florian Sieche, Global CEO of HMD Global took over Nokia, he had one vision: Resurrect the brand to its former glory. A few weeks after he took over as the CEO, he visited India and launched the Nokia 2 at a Delhi Metro station.

One year later, the former Co-Founder of HTC’s branded smartphone business is back in Delhi. This time, for the launch of Nokia 6.1 Plus and Nokia 5.1 Plus. This time around, the ground beneath my feet and the ceiling above is rumbling, thanks to thumping rock music and the live band at the launch of Nokia's phones. The Nokia 6.1 plus will be available from August 30, priced at Rs 15,999 and Nokia 5.1 will be launched in September. The phones will be available on the Nokia website and on Flipkart.

Florian Seiche, CEO, HMD Global (second from left) at the launch of Nokia's phones in India

Over the past two years, Nokia has launched nine smartphones in India. In conversation with YourStory, Florian describes how the past year has been for Nokia, and his plans for India.

YourStory: How would you describe the journey over the past year as the CEO of HMD Global and Nokia?

Florian Sieche: It has been an exciting year full of high energy. I have been re-living a startup experience. That is the part we cherish the most. It is a new chapter; we have so many great things where we can tap into the Nokia heritage. It is an opportunity to build a new legacy. Not just work with the existing consumer base but grow and expand that further.

YS: What are the challenges of the market today? Especially when you are looking to resurrect a brand like this?

FS: While Nokia is a legacy brand, we cannot rest or bask in the achievement of the previous growth. Our focus today has to be about showing them new energy and new products, and the difference we can offer. And we have to do all this while keeping our legacy in mind. The newer phones are therefore focused on the younger millennial audience and giving them what they want from a smartphone. We want to get the message across that it is a fresh and exciting journey.

YS: What are your plans for India?

FS: India is one of the top three markets for Nokia. It is a key market for us and we want to focus here. For that, we are doubling our manufacturing capacity in India, which will help double our revenues. We already have a partnership with Foxconn global for the manufacturing. We have partnered with the dedicated Foxconn facility specifically for India. While we will increase our capacity, we are also looking to add value locally. We are adding local components to the factory here.

YS: How would you describe the India market?

FS: The Indian consumer is a young, fast-moving one. S/he is always looking for the latest in technology and products, and is keen to upgrade the experience. In that sense, we believe we are as aggressive as the biggest players in terms of specifications and pricing. In addition, we want to showcase the uniqueness of the phone. We have our own research and also have direct consumer interaction and feedback that helps us build newer products. Our Nokia Care app has over 10 million users, who give feedback regularly; apart from that, we also get feedback from our partners like Flipkart.

YS: What are your plans in the coming months?

FS: We are looking at an aggressive festival season, which will last till the end of this calendar year. While one phone will be out at the end of this month, the other phone will be available in September. But we might go further than just launching these two phones.

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