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.