“Made in Finland” once held cachet for cell phone buyers. But as Apple and Google have remade the market for mobile phones, Finland’s Nokia has floundered. Now, it will no longer even make phones in its home country.
Nokia said it would stop making phones at its plant in Salo, Finland, as well as plants in Reynosa, Mexico and Komarom, Hungary. Last year it stopped production at a plant in Romania. Wednesday’s announcement means it will stop making cell phones on its home continent, or indeed any continent outside of Asia. It also will cut 4,000 jobs.
Chief of Layoffs
In all, Nokia has cut nearly 15,000 jobs since it hired Stephen Elop, its first non-Finnish CEO, in September 2010. That’s not counting the 17,000 jobs slashed from its joint venture with Siemens, Nokia Siemens Networks. (See a timeline of Elop’s tenure).
While the cutting of production in Salo is fraught with symbolism, Nokia’s Hungarian plant will lose the most jobs, 2,300. The plant in Salo will lose 1,000 workers, and 700 jobs will be cut in Mexico. All three factories made smart phones.
The shift comes at a time when Apple and other manufacturers face scrutiny for the conditions in their Asian factories.
One place in Asia that won’t benefit: Nokia’s existing plant in Chennai, which only manufactures basic mobile phones. Instead, production will shift to Nokia plants in Beijing and Masan, Korea, a Nokia official told the Hindu Business Line.
Finland’s YLE reported that Finnish trade unions have condemned the cuts, and that Nokia has pledged to work with unions to help workers transition to new jobs. Salo and the other two factories will continue to employ people to help customize smart phones.