HTC might buy Nokia's disputed India smartphone plant [Update: Maybe not]

Microsoft will close the deal to purchase Nokia's smartphone unit on Friday, but it's looking like one of Nokia's manufacturing plants in India may not be included as part of the purchase. Now HTC's chief financial officer has been quoted as saying that it could buy that plant, located in Chennai, if it comes up for sale.

The Times of India quotes HTC's CFO Chialin Chang as saying, "I am happy to look into it, because the overall preparation, exploration hinges upon if it will serve consumers better. If that (plant) will do that (service consumers better), then we would be happy to look further into it." However, Chang also added that he was not aware of the details surrounding the Nokia plant.

In January 2013, the government of India accused Nokia of trying evade paying over $500 million in taxes, which Nokia has repeatedly denied. The dispute has ended up in the court system of that country, and has put the fate of the Chennai plant, and its 8,000 workers, up in the air. Nokia has repeatedly said the Indian tax fight will not affect the sale of its Devices and Services division to Microsoft.

Today's Times of India story quotes an unnamed source "in the know of the matter" as saying that it looks more likely that the plant won't be part of the Microsoft deal. The source stated, "It makes no sense for Microsoft to keep the factory as they can easily outsource the entire production to China, just like Apple does, and successfully at that."

Update: HTC's PR rep sent Neowin a statement saying that Chang was misquoted in the Times of India article, adding, "HTC would like to clarify that the company has no intention of purchasing the plant. From a business perspective, we continually review opportunities to strategically invest and we will continue to do so in the future. It's unfortunate that Mr. Chang's comments were taken out of context during the interview."

Source: Times of India | Nokia image via Shutterstock

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3 Comments

More like India can't compete with the PRC as being the LCL (low-cost-labor) back-end country any more. While India is a free-market economy, the PRC is not; it is still a "command/on-demand" economy - thus, they are free (quite free) to use shenanigans that free-market economies are not allowed to use; why do you think the "Asian tiger" economies are quite worried about the PRC from an economic-competition standpoint?

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