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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
India now Nokia's second market
Nokia handsets
The Indian market is now "poised right behind China", Nokia says
Mobile phone maker Nokia says India has overtaken the US to become its second largest market in terms of sales.

Chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo made the comment on a visit to India to meet officials, suppliers and clients.

Nokia had expected India to overtake the US as its second biggest sales market after China by 2010.

Nokia's focus has shifted in recent years to fast-growing emerging markets such as India, which had a total of 118 million mobile users by July this year.

While rising incomes are boosting mobile phone demand, low call rates are also attracting more than six million more people across the country to sign up with mobile phone operators each month.

Growing market

"Out of 185 million mobile phone users in India, 85 million use Nokia phones," the managing director at Nokia's India unit added.

The most recent official figures from the firm - covering 2006 - showed India was fast catching up on the US with net sales worth 2.7bn euros ($3.7bn; 1.8bn) against sales of 2.8bn euros in America.

With Nokia focused on the potential of this fast-growing market, India has now become a key hub for the firm and its operations in India have grown substantially since 2004 when it employed just 450 people.

It now employs 9,000 people, and its factory in Chennai has shipped 60 million phones in the 18 months since it opened - with half exported to more than 58 countries.

Worldwide, the firm sold 100.8 million handsets between April and June.

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