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Nokia to pull out of Japan market

The world's largest cell phone maker announces plans to stop making phones for one of the largest markets in the world, while branching into remote energy management.

Nokia, the world's largest cell phone maker, plans to stop making phones for the Japan market, one of the largest in the world.

The Finnish phone maker announced Thursday that it would stop manufacturing cell phones for NTT DoCoMo and Softbank Mobile, but will continue producing its luxury Vertu brand, according to a report by Reuters.

"In the current global economic climate, we have concluded that the continuation of our investment in Japan-specific localized products is no longer sustainable," Nokia executive vice president Timo Ihamuotila said in a statement.

While Nokia has a 40 percent global share, the Japanese market has been a tough nut to crack, the report notes. Some 85 percent of the population already owns cell phones, which tend to be part of third-generation networks that sport advanced features, such as TV broadcasting and electronic payment functions, according to the report.

Even Apple's iPhone 3G has had difficulty making in-roads in the Japan market. Apple sold about 200,000 phones in the first two months it was available in Japan, according to a September report in The Wall Street Journal that cited data from market-research firm MM Research Institute. However, demand has fallen, and many analysts don't believe Apple will even reach half its goal of selling 1 million units in Japan.

Meanwhile, Nokia also announced plans to create a platform that will allow people to use their mobile phones to control their home electronics, and security and energy management systems. The Nokia Home Control Center is designed to help people reduce their carbon footprint by allowing them to remotely manage their home's energy consumption.

"We want to create an open solution where external partners can develop their own solutions and services on top of our platform," said Teppo Paavola, chief of Corporate Business Development. "We believe that the mobile device is an ideal interface to control home intelligence, especially when the user is not at home."

Nokia is expected to demonstrate the Nokia Home Control Center at the Nokia World event being held in Barcelona on December 2-3.