Nokia shuts its biggest store in the world in Shanghai

Nokia has shuttered its flagship store in China, and is looking to mobile operators and others to pick up the slack.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

Nokia has closed the Shanghai flagship store that it once billed as its largest in the world.

Nokia confirmed the closure to ZDNet on Thursday, with the country's mobile carriers and retailers now expected to step in to fill the gap.

"Nokia is focusing on growing its presence in operator and third-party retail outlets, rather than through our own physical stores. We are, of course, also continuously beefing up our online presence. With this in mind, our store in Shanghai was closed on 31 March," said Nokia spokesperson Brett Young told ZDNet.

News of the closure first surfaced earlier this week, after local media outlets reported that Nokia had posted a sign on its closed door on Shanghai's main pedestrian thoroughfare, Nanjing Lu, stating that the shop had shut due to internal restructuring. Customers were directed to a Nokia Experience centre on Fuzhou Road instead.

China's official news bureau Xinhua has posted photos of the vacated store, which opened in 2007, two years before Nokia beat a retreat from retail in Europe and the US. Last year it did the same for Russia, according to Pravda.ru

The closure of Nokia's store comes against a background of declining sales in Greater China: the move to Windows Phone and falling Symbian sales saw Nokia's device and service net sales in China decrease from $1bn in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $213m a year later. Nonetheless, China is still a key market for Nokia: it signed a deal late last year with China Mobile which saw operator agree to carry a version of Nokia's flagship Windows Phone 8 handset, the Lumia 920T, tailored to the Chinese market while Nokia continues to target its Asha device range at the country. Beijing also remains the site of one of Nokia's major development hubs.

Elsehwere, Nokia has also been scaling back property holdings, recently selling off its headquarters in Espoo, Finland.  

By contrast, Apple is expanding its retail presence in China, and now has three stores in Shanghai, three in Beijing, as well as one each in Chengdu and Shenzen.

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