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Nokia gears up 3G efforts in China

Joint venture with Chinese equipment maker to focus on products for the up-and-coming high-speed networks.

Nokia is expanding its efforts in China with a new 3G venture.

The Finnish mobile phone giant and China Putian, a telecommunications gear maker, are setting up a joint venture that will research, manufacture and sell products for the upcoming wireless data services. High-speed 3G, or third-generation, networks support services such as video on demand.

The focus of the Nokia-Putian operation will be on TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) and W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) technologies. The first set of products is expected to be out in 2006, marketed under the Potevio brand held by China Putian. Nokia will sell W-CDMA systems under its own brand both globally and in China.

The joint venture represents a total investment of about $110 million, with the Chinese partner holding a 51 percent stake. The partners will set up a facility in the city of Wuhan.

Early this year, Nokia competitor Ericsson launched a TD-SCDMA research unit in Nanjing, China.