“There is no other place as perfect as Hong Kong for mobile software/hardware developer like us to launch our first product.”

Antti Saarnio, Charman andCo-founder of Jolla Asia Ltd

Jolla Ltd is a Finnish startup which designs and manufactures a smartphone called Jolla. Using Jolla’s own innovative open-source operating system called Sailfish OS, developed by a group of ex-Nokia employees, the Jolla phone made its debut in August 2014 at the flagship stores of 3 Hong Kong, Hutchison Telecom’s mobile operator. Jolla will also launch a tablet in Hong Kong in the 2nd quarter of 2015, after raising record-breaking 14 million Hong Kong dollars for the Jolla Tablet development through crowdfunding.

“Jolla offers a cool alternative for people who want something different. The main focus for us right now is to develop productsthat satisfies our customers and enhances their user experience,” Antti Saarnio, Chairman and Co-founder, Jolla Ltd, said.

“Hong Kong is an excellent place to start a business. It is very easy to establish in the city. For companies or startups planning to develop networks and businesses in Mainland China, they should first consider setting up in Hong Kong — not only because it offers the ease and efficiency to do business but it is also an ideal test bed for many products,” he said.

With a base in Hong Kong, Saarnio finds it very convenient to develop business partnerships, such as finding contractors for manufacturing and customers for the Sailfish operating system in the region. Travel time to other countries in the region is also shortened thanks to the city’s central location. Situated in the SmartSpace at Hong Kong Cyberport, Jolla’s office manages its Asian operations from product development to marketing. “It takes only an hour to travel from Cyberport to the airport which reduces our travel time. We also gain easy access to financing and networking opportunities through the tenancy at Cyberport,” he said.

“Also, with a population of seven million, an equal number of smartphone ownership and an average replacement rate of new smartphones every five to six months, there is no other place as perfect as Hong Kong for a mobile software/ hardware developer like us to launch our first product,” he added.

After establishing a firm foothold in Hong Kong, Jolla’s next plan is to develop its R&D operations in Mainland China and open up the Indian market. “My advice for anyone who wishes to do business in the Mainland is that you should first set up in Hong Kong, get advice and support from InvestHK and then continue your journey from there. This saves you time and costs to systematically start up your business. I personally think Hong Kong is the best city to live in Asia with a nice climate. We will continue to build our Asia operations and grow our customer base from here,” he concluded.

Fast Facts: Jolla

  • An independent designer and developer of mobile operating system and devices
  • Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, with 120 staff
  • Seven staff in Cyberport office