Nokia’s Future in Bangladesh Uncertain as Factory Closure Sparks Dispute

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Uncertainty looms over the availability of Nokia phones in the country’s market, especially under the label ‘Made in Bangladesh.’

The sole Nokia factory in the country has been shuttered due to a business dispute between a domestic partner and the parent company.

The Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority is unable to confirm whether the product will be relaunched at all.

In September 2021, Nokia introduced smartphones in Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City, marking the brand’s entry as the first globally recognised one in the area.

At that time, the brand also announced the export of handsets labeled ‘Made in Bangladesh’ for both local and international markets. Unfortunately, the factory was shut down after only a year and a half of operation.

The root cause of this issue is the business conflict between Nokia’s parent company, HMD Global, and its domestic partner, Union Tech Park Limited.

On September 3 this year, Union Tech Park lodged a complaint with the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) against HMD Global, citing HMD’s cessation of raw material supply for handset production, claiming internal restructuring and global economic reasons.

Union Tech Park alleges that HMD Global has not settled outstanding dues for an extended period.

During a BTRC meeting on August 31, HMD Global announced the selection of another organization as a partner, excluding Union Tech Park. However, the contract with Union Tech Park was supposed to be in effect until November 30 of the same year. Union Tech Park contends that HMD Global concealed the exclusion from their partnership.

Union Group has taken further action by filing a complaint against HMD Global’s Dhaka office, accusing them of selling counterfeit Nokia handsets in the market.

They also claim a 50 percent loss due to defects found in 120,000 smartphones purchased. Excluding the factory investment, Union Tech Park is seeking approximately Tk 47 crore in compensation from HMD Global.

When Somoy Sangbad reached out to Union Group for comment, they declined to provide information beyond what was mentioned in the letter.

Meanwhile, HMD Global’s Dhaka office asserts that they terminated the contract with a three-month notice, in accordance with the rules, despite the ongoing validity period. However, no one from the office agreed to speak on camera.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Nokia’s future in the country due to the ongoing conflict between the two organisations, the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications are unwilling to discuss calling it as internal affairs.

Source: Somoy News