Nokia’s Foray into Urdu with a New Low-Cost Mobile Phone

Category: International Business, Technology

Nokia is known for making mobile phones that last, which makes it an attractive proposition for mobile markets that are still growing.

The new launch of the Nokia 114 in India is a perfect example of global strategy with local application. The new dual SIM device is priced around Rs 2,500 (a little under $40 US) and offers messaging and internet access in nine languages, including Urdu, Hindi and English.

Given India’s linguistic diversity, including support for Urdu is a logical step. The company can now target the 150 million Urdu speakers in the country, reports Business Standard. Accordingly Nokia will first target Indian states with a high Urdu speaking population, such as Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Nokia was the first mobile company to have support for 11 Indian languages, making it a key player in attempts to bridge the country’s “digital divide.” This divide, primarily between urban and rural populations, is one of the reasons that only about 10 percent of India’s 1.2 billion population uses the internet. Low-cost mobile devices such as the Nokia 114 are a way to narrow this gap, and with technologies that allow people to access the web and communicate in their preferred language, the number of mobile users is only going to increase.

Also of note is the fact that Nokia responded to the challenge that Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal issued earlier this year to create a device with Urdu capability. By working with governments to address untapped needs (and thus untapped markets), Nokia is well on its way to achieving dominance in the Indian mobile market. We’re seeing similar strategies in the other BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), where large potential markets are becoming more and more plugged in to the digital world.

Interested in what other mobile trends are taking off across the world? Read our recent post on global development trends and see just what IKEA is doing in India. You may just be inspired to take your business to the subcontinent yourself!