Nokia turns on the tap in Thailand

16 Sep 2011

What do you do when you are a former market leader in a country where goodwill still runs strong and your next generation of phones will not support the local language?

That is the situation facing Nokia Thailand right now given that Windows Phone Mango is reported that it will not support the Thai language out of the box. The answer that Nokia came up with was simple - turn on the marketing dollars.

In what some might feel an act of desperation, Nokia Thailand is giving away ten motorcycles and gold every week for the next ten weeks, with two cars in the final week for buyers of its dual-SIM phones - which are at the very low end, ranging from 1290 baht ($42) for the X1-01 to 2,990 baht for the C3-02.

At least that is one section of the market where Nokia still has no real competition - Android and Apple does not play in that sector and the el-cheapo Chinese phones lack the quality and finesse of Nokia’s feature phones.

At the other end of the market, Nokia is launching its Meego N9 walking-dead phone in Thailand along with a press release that extolled its all-screen design, Swype UI and how “the expressive Qt framework for developers will evolve in future Nokia products.” Clearly whoever was writing the press release has not been keeping up with news from Espoo lately.

How long the company can sustain its rapidly eroding market share in light of such external constraints and internal lack of coordination is a mystery. Perhaps the powers that be had a cruel sense of humour when Grant McBeath was given the top job in Bangkok in July this year. One can almost hear the witches as they screech, “All Hail MacBeth. Hail to Thee, Thane of Cawdor...”

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