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Nokia Deal Is Just the Beginning for China Mobile

A customer leaves a China Mobile store in Beijing.
A customer leaves a China Mobile store in Beijing.Photograph by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Nokia boss Stephen Elop, chief executive of the beleaguered Finnish company, has managed something the late Steve Jobs never achieved: a partnership with the world’s biggest cellular operator. On Dec. 6, Nokia unveiled plans to cooperate with China’s dominant cellular operator, China Mobile, to offer the Lumia 920T, Nokia’s new Windows-based smartphone, to the more than 700 million Chinese who are China Mobile subscribers. The Lumia tie-up with China Mobile offers Nokia “a chance to reestablish its brand in China,” writes John Butler, Bloomberg Industries analyst.

The Lumia partnership isn’t the only new strategy for China Mobile. The company also has plans to introduce its own-brand cell phones and launch a mobile Internet subsidiary, the official China Daily newspaper reported on Dec. 6. “We need to change the operating model of being a traditional state-owned company to help us break into new fields and create new products and services,” CEO Li Yue said.