MeeGo Startup, Jolla, Zeroes In On China, Expects €200M Ecosystem Backing From Hong Kong Alliance

Jolla, the plucky Finnish mobile startup that’s largely comprised of talent cast off by Nokia as it slimmed down its own software development operations (in favour of leaning on Microsoft’s), has announced it’s setting up an alliance that will back its forthcoming MeeGo-based OS — codenamed Sailfish and due to be ready for licensing in spring 2013 — and help speed the growth of an ecosystem around it.

Jolla’s release does not detail exactly who is involved in the alliance — beyond citing “leading players in the industry” — but we’ve asked for more details and will update if we hear back. The company also says it anticipates membership of the alliance growing — name-checking as possible partners “chipset vendors, OEM and ODM manufacturers, operators and retailers”.

The alliance will be contributing €200 million ($259 million) to expedite growth of the Sailfish ecosystem, according to Jolla — although it notes that this investment will come in gradually, rather than as immediate financial backing.

The alliance partners will be investing an estimated 200 million euros to ensure the success and rapid expansion of the new ecosystem. The 200M€ ecosystem financing will come in gradually from Jolla and as members join the alliance, which will include chipset vendors, OEM and ODM manufacturers, operators and retailers.

The alliance is being established in Hong Kong — which continues the nascent mobile-maker’s focus on China. Jolla hasn’t released any smartphones yet — or indeed other MeeGo-based devices — but back in July it signed a sales and distribution deal with Chinese mobile phone retailer D.Phone. It it is also establishing R&D operations in Hong Kong and elsewhere in China.

“China is a game changer in the technology industry,” said Jussi Hurmola, CEO of Jolla, in a statement. “The next big mobile change will come from China and Jolla wants to be enabling it. There are massive resources and competence to transport the whole industry.”

Jolla has chosen Cyberport Hong Kong to host the Sailfish alliance data centre — noting

The data centre is being established to host Sailfish’s infrastructure, data, productisation facilities and collaboration services. In addition, some of the upcoming ecosystem’s cloud services will be provided from there. The OS and UX are highly scalable and will support smartphones, tablets, televisions, automotive and other device classes.

MeeGo was formed back in 2010 by Nokia in partnership with Intel (merging their respective Maemo and Moblin Linux-based OS efforts) — but subsequently jettisoned by Nokia when it decided to focus on Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS as its primary smartphone platform.