HMD Global begins manufacturing ‘Made in Hungary’ Nokia XR21 5G mobile phone in Europe

Image credits: HMD Global

HMD Global, the mobile phone manufacturer and distributor behind the Nokia mobile phone brand, has launched its first smartphone manufactured in Europe.

The news first reveals that a Finnish company will move some of its manufacturing to Europe to meet growing demand from companies for locally produced hardware to address security and sustainability concerns. It was announced about six months after. HMD Global did not disclose whereTechnically, it’s manufactured in Europe, and the company told TechCrunch in February that it kept its facilities secret due to security concerns.

“Unfortunately, our customers are in a variety of security-sensitive industries, so we can’t tell anyone what country these devices are made in, just to keep them as safe as possible.” said Lars Silberbauer, HMD Global Chief Marketing Officer. at that time.

But the company now appears to be having second thoughts, confirming that at least one of its manufacturing sites is in Hungary. A spokesperson told TechCrunch that they could not yet reveal where. that’s right The manufacturing facility is located in Hungary, but the company said it plans to add further manufacturing and assembly capacity in other parts of Europe.

The first device launched was the 5G Nokia XR21, which businesses can purchase starting today. This is almost identical to the XR21 launched earlier this year, but the new version is assembled in Europe and HMD Global offers enterprise customers “a higher level of security assurance through customized software and security features.” They differ in what they can offer, the spokesperson said. Further added that he is working with IT security partners.

Additionally, the company is making a limited edition of 30 of these devices available to consumers in the UK, France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Finland through the online Nokia store, complete with stickers. . The price is 699 euros (599 pounds). He also plans to launch a standard version (i.e. non-limited version) of his XR21 smartphone in Europe for consumers, which will be black in color.

Nokia XR21 image credits: HMD Global

To summarize briefly, HMD Global rose from the ashes of Microsoft’s haphazard acquisition of Nokia devices a decade ago. The acquisition resulted in a $7 billion “goodwill” writedown after Satya Nadella was elevated to his CEO hot seat. Microsoft eventually exited the entire Nokia business and the newly formed HMD Global took over the Nokia brand in 2016.

Over the past few years, HMD Global has primarily focused on: feature phone and cheap smartphonesbut Nokia’s brand value helped the Helsinki company raise $330 million in funding From Google, Qualcomm, and Nokia themselves. However, just last month, HMD Global confirmed plans to bring its own branded devices to market alongside Nokia-branded devices, but did not provide details about these plans.


Nokia XR21 manufacturing facility in Hungary image credits: HMD Global

From a features perspective, Europe’s new device doesn’t change much from what was already in the existing XR21, but from a target market perspective, durability and sustainability seem to be the winning points. The company boasts that the XR21 has “military-grade durability,” which equates to its IP69K rating. This means it’s designed for industrial applications with high risks of dust, heat, moisture and shock, while the device is made from 100% recycled aluminum.

Of note, the materials themselves still have to be sourced from other parts of the world, particularly China, and various metals and components are sent to HMD Global’s manufacturing and testing facilities in Europe for assembly, calibration, and testing. It will still be produced in China before being shipped.

In fact, one of the main reasons HMD Global brings manufacturing closer to them is the security requirements they seek from companies. The company moved its data centers to Europe in 2019 for exactly the same reason. Part of that includes designing and testing the phone locally from the beginning. The company says:

All devices undergo rigorous software and malware testing in Europe, and some enterprise customers require additional security by working with a number of IT security partners.

Today’s news does not signal the start of a major “lift and shift” of existing manufacturing capacity in China and India to Europe. It would make no sense at all to manufacture all phones in Europe just to ship them. Asia remains an important market for the company. HMD Global has made it clear that this is all in response to a very specific demand from a very specific set of customers, where sovereignty and localization are paramount.

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