back to article Nokia's India threat letter: 'It's cheaper to make phones in China'

Nokia’s long-running tax dispute with the Indian authorities appeared to take another turn after it was revealed that it sent the commerce ministry a strongly-worded letter branding India its “least favourable market” and threatening to move production to China. Written in June, the letter said that the “political risk” of …


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  1. Gunda

    Few governments have been so disastrous and the political environment so hostile to enterprise in general than now in India. Nothing works unless a politician has a share in some form. Either a stake in the business, or cash upfront, usually both. Truly sad.

    1. LarsG

      The Indian Government has passed a law to supply the poor who live in poverty with 5kg of subsidised cheap grain a year, at the cost of around 25 billion. This appears to be a ploy to ensure they get enough votes in the next election.

      They have to find the money to pay for this.

      However, I would have thought that giving the poor an education and proper schooling would be a better way to erase poverty. Surprisingly, India has a Space Program but people still starve to death. They also have a caste system that keeps people in their place,forever.

      What an enlightened country it is.

      1. James 51

        The whole 'they have poor people but have a space programme too, bad kitty' arguement always annoys me. Poor farmers benefit from weather forecasts, flood alerts and remote communcations access as anyone else. BTW is the programme profitable? If it's bringing money in stopping the programme would be worse than useless.

        1. John H Woods Silver badge


          James51: "The whole 'they have poor people but have a space programme too, bad kitty' arguement always annoys me."

          It will hold less sway when we stop giving them aid, in about 2015.

          1. James 51

            Re: But...

            Perhaps but I am not sure that they will start spending less on fighting various insurgent groups, reduce their military presence on the border with Pakistan or tackle the corruption which is reportedly a problem there to plug the funding gaps in the programs that will be left behind.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: But...

            we stop giving them aid, in about 2015."

            Aid is not about helping the poor. It's about keeping the local politicos happy so they'll buy our stuff or sell us stuff cheap. Just like Nokias tax and VAT "incentives".

            It's all bribery and corruption dressed up to look like above board "negotiations".

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: But...

            "It will hold less sway when we stop giving them 'aid' to buy stuff from BAE Systems etc"

            There, fixed that for you.

        2. zooooooom

          "The whole 'they have poor people but have a space programme too, bad kitty' arguement always annoys me. Poor farmers benefit from weather forecasts"

          Yeah because you can't buy Sat data, you absolutely have to launch your own rockets amirite?

          1. James 51

            Depends on how much that data costs and who you are buying it from. Plus if they are actually making money from their programme it doesn't make sense to attack it. Look at how the US beneifted from all the spins off from their space programme.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "Surprisingly, India has a Space Program but people still starve to death"

        s/India/The USA/ and you'd still be accurate. (Ditto "China", "Brazil", "Russia")

        While the rice thing sounds like vote buying, 5kg isn't very much unless you're at starvation level.

        Castes have been illegal for quite a while. There's more economic mobility in India now than in a lot of other places, but they have to get the gender imbalance sorted out, quickly or things will get unstable again.

  2. Neoc

    Always find this stupid.

    That a government wants to make new rules or taxes doesn't really bother me (OK, it does, 'cause no-one likes to pay more if there's any other choice). It's part-and-parcel of the whole Govt gig.

    What I can never understand is how *any* government can make these thing Retroactive and be able to do so with a straight face. I can just imagine it "Oh yes, what you were doing was perfectly legal when you were doing it. But we didn't like it so now we say that what you did was illegal".

    How can you do anything if any thing you do can suddenly turn out to be illegal?

    1. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: Always find this stupid.

      Sue the govt in question to obtain access to their time machine, so you could go back in time and advise the board members that they are about to make an unlawful decision, and steer them away from it.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    It might be cheaper 'today'

    but given the way costs are going in China, it might not be the same tomorrow. There are already cases where for some things China is no longer the cheapo place it once was and companies are relocating back to the west.

    Eventually, these conglomerates will run out of cheap places to 'make stuff'.

    1. markw:

      Re: It might be cheaper 'today'

      "Eventually, these conglomerates will run out of cheap places to 'make stuff'."

      Eventually the greedy, rich first-world consumers will run out of cheap places to make the shiny shit they are addicted to.

      There fixed it for you ...

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: It might be cheaper 'today'

      "Eventually, these conglomerates will run out of cheap places to 'make stuff'"

      Not really. Switching to robotics is expensive to start with but once you have the money, the best place to setup a factory is where power and supply chains are stable, and relatively close to the destination.

      Robots don't need pee breaks, shift changes, light, a/c, heating, oxygen, etc. They don't shed skin cells on the equipment, make careless mistakes because they're tired and they don't jump off dormitory roofs, which is why Foxconn is deploying so many (that and the worker shortage is driving wages up, so if they don't do something they'll be outsourced somewhere cheaper).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't want caste the whole country in a bad light.

    (sorry for the pun), but this slightly slippery approach to business can be found in many ways in India.

    Although i am the first to say that when you deal with good guys in India they are great and very skilled, often the business skill / slippery-ness out weighs technical skill... this has been my first hand experience in out sourcing to India and like Nokia we dropped them for people in China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

    I dont think any government would have even read a letter if we sent it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Independence from Britain was the biggest tragedy

    India should have been a British colony, in 50 years it is now proven that British rule was much better than Hindian rule. English would have been a neutral and common language, instead of the present imposition of the Mughal origin Hindi language. British were responsible at least for removing the cruel evils like Sati. But the Hindian politicians along with local state politicians have expanded caste system, reservation policy, Hindi imposition, religious discrimination, absence of uniform code etc.

    Independence day is now day of extortion where gangs called "Friends Association" take money from Business establishments in the name hoisting a stupid flag.


    Every year new scams are being done, the scam technology is getting bigger and bigger.

    Country is going ever year by ear to DOGS.

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