NSN CEO courts China's vice premier with innovation hub pledge

Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) chief executive Rejeev Suri has pledged to position China as a global innovation centre and to collaborate on technology innovation with local players.

During talks in Beijing earlier this month, Suri and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang discussed how they could work together to turn China into a global innovation hub, and agreed on the need for increased cooperation between Europe and China on technology development.

"We have established a trusted and vitally important relationship with our Chinese customers and partners through our longstanding presence on the ground," Suri said. "We provide telecommunications equipment and services to China's three operators, serving over 350 million subscribers."

Suri said the company has established a solid presence in the country, comprising research and development, manufacturing, global purchasing, customer operations, and services with over 8,000 employees.

"Our TD-LTE global R&D headquarters in China is a clear example of our continuing investment in R&D to help position China as a global hub for innovation," he added.

Suri emphasised that NSN already has considerable experience of deploying TD-LTE networks, China's preferred version of LTE technology, and also claimed the Finland-based equipment manufacturer is on the verge of becoming the largest foreign player in China's mobile infrastructure market.

NSN has already won TD-LTE contracts with China Mobile and China Telecom, and is participating in a China Unicom LTE tender. Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson have also won various TD-LTE deals in the country.

The progress by NSN puts pressure on domestic vendors Huawei and ZTE in their own backyard, and whether by choice or coincidence NSN released details of the meeting a day after Huawei said preliminary figures for 2013 suggest it won't hit its sales growth target for the year.

Huawei's CFO Cathy Meng said unaudited results pointed to a rise in total global revenue of around 8 per cent to between 238 billion yuan (€28.8 billion) and 240 billion yuan. The vendor predicted growth of between 10 per cent and 12 per cent when it released its 2012 annual report in April 2013.

Three quarters of Huawei's sales come from its infrastructure business, and the firm is ranked first or second in the global telecoms equipment market, depending on which analyst's figures you read.

In a separate announcement, NSN said it has won an LTE rollout contract with Russian carrier VimpelCom, covering RAN deployments in the centre and south of the country, Siberia, and much of the Volga and Ural regions. The five-year deal also covers provision of network planning, optimisation and implementation services.

Kristina Tikhonova, head of Region East at NSN, said the company will build "an overlay LTE network that will significantly increase mobile data speeds," in the country.

For more:
- see these NSN release on China
- see this NSN release on VimpelCom
- see this Huawei 2013 earnings release
- see this Huawei 2012 earnings release
- see this Huawei 2012 financials release

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