Luxury phone maker Vertu is shutting down its UK manufacturing business, as the company has announced that it will no longer build devices. That’s according to The Financial Times, which reports the closure of the UK manufacturing unit will cause job loses for up to 200 people.
Vertu’s luxury phones were produced from a manufacturing unit in Hampshire in U.K. Its phones featured customised sold gold, sapphire glass, titanium, precious jewels, and alligator leather. These hand-made phones were cost a fortune. The Signature range, for instance, starts at £11,000 ( or approx Rs 925,694) and £39,100 (or approx Rs 32,904,24) for Cloud De Paris Red Gold model. The high-end phone maker recently started offering Android smartphones as well, starting at £4500 ( or approx Rs 378,693) in the Aster collection.
Vertu was a part of Nokia in 1998 when the Finnish company was its peak. In 2012, Nokia sold its luxury handset unit Vertu for $220 million to Swedish private equity group EQT, retaining only 10 per cent stake. By 2015, Vertu had sold over 450,000 devices globally, with a average selling price of £5000 (or approx Rs 420,770). The same year, Vertu was sold to Godin Holdings, a Hong Kong-based fund, and then passed out to a Turkish exile Hakan Uzan for £50 million in March this year.
Speaking to BBC, Ian Fogg, an analyst at IHS Technology said: “It is very unusual, they hand make the phone at incredibly low volumes and they were incredibly high-priced.”
Vertu’s recently launched phones that came with sapphire for its screens, something Apple had been trying to incorporate for its iPhones. “It’s difficult material to work with”, Fogg added.
Despite being known among the rich and wealthy, the British boutique phone maker did not able to attract newer customers, which ultimately led to its failure. The competition, especially from Apple and Samsung have further played an important role in the demise of Vertu.