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Nokia confirms exit from Japanese phone business

updated 04:35 pm EDT, Wed July 6, 2011

Nokia to close last Vertu store in Japan in July

Nokia has confirmed earlier rumors that it would abandon the Japanese phone market, the AP reported on Wednesday. By the end of July, the company will close its last store selling ultra high-end Vertu-branded cell phones. The company operated four such stores in Japan.

Vertu announced its Tokyo office would close by year's end to focus on priority business. It promised to continue to do business with Japanese craftsmen on products for other markets, however.

A spokesperson for Vertu wouldn't reveal how many of the handsets were sold in Japan. One example sold for 20 million yen, or about $250,000. The Finnish phone maker is the world's largest by volume, but the market competition from Android and iPhones will likely mean lower-than-projected sales for the spring and has already led to a collapse in Nokia's share, even in areas that were once Nokia's safe havens.

Apple notably runs its own stores in Japan, including in luxury shopping areas such as Tokyo's Ginza district where Vertu had a store.

by MacNN Staff



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