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Nokia to open factory in India

The company and its suppliers will invest as much as $150 million in the facility over the next four years.

Nokia said Wednesday it plans to invest in a new plant in India as part of an effort to meet growing demand for mobile devices in the country.

The Finnish handset maker, which holds the No. 1 position in the global market, said that it and its key suppliers may invest as much as $100 million to $150 million in the factory over the next four years. Nokia noted, however, that a final investment decision will not be made until early next year.

The facility will be Nokia's 10th worldwide and its third in Asia, and it could eventually employ 2,000 workers. Nokia's other Asian facilities are in China and South Korea.

"India's position at the heart of a rapidly growing mobile communications region makes it an attractive option for establishing our new manufacturing facility," Nokia President Pekka Ala-Pietila, who was visiting India this week, said in a statement.

India currently has more than 43 million mobile phone subscribers. The market has been growing at a rate of over 50 percent in the last few years.

Market researchers also foresee a major boom in India's market for mobile games. According to In-Stat/MDR, the Indian market for mobile games is set to go from the mere $26 million expected this year to $336 million by 2009. This summer, Nokia debuted its first game device in India (the N-Gage QD).

Nokia is the second high-profile global corporation to announce a venture in India this week. On Tuesday, Microsoft Research said it will set up a laboratory in Bangalore by January.