Nokia takes the local route to increase social networking presence in China

Two of the major Internet service providers in China will soon offer social network integration of Nokia’s Ovi Maps service, meaning that customers will be able to update their status to let their contacts know their whereabouts.

The two service providers, SINA and Tencent, offer services that users of Nokia phones will now have access to – Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging service from SINA, and QQ, an social network provided by Tencent. The Ovi Maps service will allow users to post content based on specific locations, such as recommendations or other information about venues, restaurants and shops.

Nokia estimates its own Chinese install base as being over 250 million devices, meaning that adoption of the service could be significant. The initial wave of services is scheduled for a Q1 2011 launch.

The vendor has seen little success with international offerings in the past – its global Ovi Music Unlimited service has been largely retired – and accordingly seems to be altering its approach, offering Internet-based services via local operators and providers.

This strategy could reap significant rewards, with millions of customers serviced between the two ISPs – Weibo alone is likely to surpass 100 million users by the second quarter, despite having launched less than 18 months ago.

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