However, while Nokia has a substantial impact on Finnish growth, exports and R&D, its direct impact on employment is much smaller. In 2001, the number of Nokia employees in Finland fell marginally to 23,700, around 2% of total employees in the business sector.
Still, Nokia has clearly pushed Finland into the business spotlight, and contributed to the country’s second-place standing (after the US) this year in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, and its frontrunner standing (before the US) in the Global Information Technology Report.
Now the world’s leading producer of mobile phones, ahead of players like Motorola, Nokia surged in the early 1990s by streamlining operations and divesting such peripherals as television manufacturing and IT products. In 1994, the company’s goal was to sell 500,000 units of its 2100 series mobile phone. Nokia sold 20 million. Since then, the company’s global expansion has hardly faltered. Nokia expected to increase its worldwide market share to about 40% by the end of 2002; in 1999 this was 25%.
The country as a whole is following suit. According to the Economic Survey of Finland, Finnish growth held up well by OECD standards in 2002. Furthermore, GDP is expected to grow from 1.6% in 2002 to 3.2% in 2003 and to 3.8% in 2004, ahead of the European Union average.
©OECD Observer No 236, March 2003