End of an Era: Nokia to stop making phones in Finland, factories to be moved to China

Half a decade ago when I first started covering Nokia’s every single move, there were debates in many online forums about whether or not someone’s new Nokia smartphone was better just because it was “Made in Finland” instead of “Made by Nokia”. The former signaled to people that what they were using was not only designed and developed in Finland, but also made in the same country where standards were assumed to be higher. Devices in the latter category were shunned by Nokia enthusiasts for illogical reasons. Today the Finnish handset maker announced that they’ll not only be closing their factory in Salo, Finland, but that they’ll also be shutting down their factories in Komarom, Hungary and Reynosa, Mexico. Why? Niklas Savander, Nokia Executive Vice President of Markets:

“Shifting device assembly to Asia is targeted at improving our time to market. By working more closely with our suppliers, we believe that we will be able to introduce innovations into the market more quickly and ultimately be more competitive. We recognize the planned changes are difficult for our employees and we are committed to supporting our personnel and their local communities during the transition.”

How many people are going to get the axe? About 4,000. Nearly 1,000 of those folks are in Finland alone according to YLE. Now we’re not really surprised by any of this. Everyone makes everything in China, and has been for a long time. Nokia was the only one crazy enough to keep factories outside Asia, but now that’s changed.

Will Nokia’s new “Made in China” smartphones be any different than their “Made in Finland” smartphones? Not really. Just look at Apple, who makes everything in China, yet gets praise for the fantastic build quality of their devices. The real question is will Nokia pass on the cost savings they’ll now get thanks to cheap Asian labor to consumers? Something tells us the answer is no, but hey, we would be delighted to be proven wrong.

  • Jennifer

    The End of an Era indeed. Seems companies can’t compete these days if they’re not manufacturing in Asia. Also seems a bit of a trend reversal going on here as consumers, in general, move towards buying local. You have to feel bad for the Fins today.

  • Anonymous

    Oh well. I used to be a Strong Nokia hardware fan. So much for that. They’ll be the next iPhone with crappy hardware hidden behind an awesome screen. I guess it was a matter of time before windows messed up the company. I wonder if Sony will make a Windows Phone. It seems like a last hope. If not I guess I’ll stay with Apple until something better comes along.
    I really feel for the Finnish at a time like this. Corporate greed is running a muck lately. They vote with their paychecks and moving work to Asia. When are we as consumers gonna vote and stick with Made In The USA items?

    • Anonymous

      So if you are so against corporate greed why are you staying with Apple? You are a hypocrite through and through.

      • AdventuresOfStevieB

        He seems pretty clear to me. I guess you’re an idiot through and through 😀

  • Nokia has turned lazy…
    Nokia is drowning; god save them, the Chinese wont.
    End of the Era where Nokia was a proudly owned device

  • AdventuresOfStevieB

    Has any company ever survived a ‘partnership’ with Microsoft? Serves Nokia right for dealing with them, but what I cannot understand is that when Elop was put into place by his Redmond paymasters, practically every commentator I heard (excluding the deluge of payed for opinions that always accompany any MS launch) predicted exactly this… the death of Nokia leaving M$ to pick over the pieces of it’s supply chain taking the leftovers it wants – all at a bargain basement price. How the hell could Nokia’s shareholders not see this coming? The fact that people are still walking this earth in 2012 who trust Microsoft is one of the things that history books of the future will surely marvel at. Nasty nasty little company.

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