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Nokia introduces new music streaming service, hopes to entice mainland users
Last Updated: 2014-03-28 00:43 | Global Times
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Finnish handset veteran Nokia officially launched its music streaming service in the Chinese mainland on Thursday, a major attempt to grab market share amid ceaseless competition in the world's biggest smartphone market.

The rollout of Nokia MixRadio, the rebranded music service of the former cellphone king that is now a part of Microsoft, makes Nokia the first provider of global streaming services in the mainland market, where mobile Internet users totaled 500 million by the end of 2013 to account for 81 percent of the nation's online population, according to data released in mid-January by the China Internet Network Information Center.

The Thursday launch marks the 31st market where listeners can tune in to the MixRadio service, which now has more than 30 million songs in the catalog globally, Jyrki Rosenberg, vice president for entertainment at Nokia, told reporters Tuesday in Beijing.

Believing that "most music listening in the future will happen on mobile devices," Rosenberg vowed greater efforts to localize the service to meet local demand.

Other competing providers of global streaming service such as Pandora, Spotify and Rhapsody, have not entered the Chinese market.

The service, which according to Rosenberg features high levels of simplification and personalization, is tied to the phone maker's Lumia Windows Phone line as well as the Nokia X series, its first Android phones that were unveiled in February.

The music streaming service will definitely be a draw for domestic consumers, taking into account Nokia's rich source of albums and tracks worldwide, Bryan Wang, Beijing-based vice president at Forrester Research, told the Global Times Thursday.

But sales of Nokia's Lumia Windows phones, in particular, are unlikely to get a big boost from the addition of the new feature, Wang said.

"With several local streaming services including Baidu music and QQ music already popular in the Chinese market, Nokia's new offering may not be well-proven enough to convince users to opt for Nokia devices," he went on to say.

The analyst forecast that Windows phones would only maintain modest growth, as Apple's iPhones or Android gadgets have already established their dominance in both the Chinese market and the global battlefield, rendering any ambitious bite out of their market shares impossible.

In the fourth quarter of 2013, Android phones made up 78.6 percent of smartphone sales in China, followed by Apple's iPhones with 19.0 percent market share and Windows, the third largest with a mere 1.1 percent, data from UK-based research firm Kantar Worldpanel showed in late January.

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