VERTU withdraws from Japan – future of brand uncertain

Nokia Oyj, the world’s biggest handset maker by volume, said its Vertu luxury phone unit is withdrawing from Japan. Vertu has made the decision to prioritize certain areas of its business and as a result plans to discontinue its current operations in Japan," spokesman Doug Dawson said. He said he wasn’t able to immediately provide details.

Vertu, based in Church Crookham, U.K., makes small volumes of mobile phones using precious metals and gemstones, typically with 12-key keypads rather than touchscreens or Qwerty keyboards. It has a Ginza flagship store and another store in Tokyo under its own name, and sells products in more than 50 countries, according to its website.

Nokia stopped selling its main mobile phone lines to Japanese carriers in 2008, Dawson said in an interview. The closure applies only to the Vertu unit, and the Nokia Siemens Networks joint venture will continue to operate normally in Japan, Dawson said.