It got really interesting when Kallasvuo announced a $1 million bounty for the Economy Venture Challenge, a contest for developers who can promote upward mobility in emerging countries. The challenge was a change to promote the very work Nokia is trying to do worldwide.
Kallasvuo, whose Finnish company’s motto is “connecting people,” tried to connect the audience with the way Nokia is reaching emerging countries. It’s a strategy that has been good to the company: Nokia is the worldwide market leader–1.2 billion people use a Nokia phone every day.
“Nokia is perhaps the most global company on the planet,” Kallasvuo said, noting that Nokia operates in 220 counties. He explained that it’s a result of the fact that Finland has the population of the size of the state of Minnesota, and therefore had to look elsewhere for market growth.
During his keynote, Kallasvuo showed off Nokia’s first phone, a 1987 device that came with a $6,000 price tag. He then held up what many would consider a basic modern device, but one that has sold 750 million units worldwide. “Today you can buy this phone in India, Africa, China for about $32,” he said. “That’s about what some of us would spend in a week on lattes at Starbucks.”
Nokia’s global strategy, however, has also exposed it to the worldwide recession. The company reported a 20% decrease in revenue last quarter, partially due to declines in shipments in China and India, where the company has a strong presence. In the third quarter, Nokia saw a decrease in worldwide market share from 41% to an estimated 35%, according to IDC.