Nokia eyes further expansion in China

Nokia has signed a $150-million deal to expand mobile phone coverage in Central China's Henan province, an Associated Press report said.

The report said work under the contract with China Mobile subsidiary Henan Mobile Communication would begin immediately and would be operational by the end of September.

This would be the 11th expansion of Henan's GSM communication network, the report said.

Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker and market leader in China and India, had increasingly turned its attention to Asia from Europe, where cellphone levels were reaching saturation points, the report said.

The report said Nokia estimated that by 2008, the number of global mobile phone owners would grow to 3 billion, with some 80% of the growth coming from emerging markets China, India, Southeast Asia and Africa.

Last year, China became Nokia's largest single market, overtaking the US, with net sales growing 28% to $4 billion, the report said.