Nokia has unveiled its latest range of mobile phones, including one which just pips Motorola's new StarTACX as the world's smallest GSM handset. Nokia's 8810 weighs 98 grams and is 74 cubic centimetres in size. The StarTACX has a mass of 84 cubic centimetres, but is slightly lighter. Nokia's handset, unveiled in Hong Kong this week, will not be available for at least three months. The phone is finished in a metallic silver design with its antenna built into the body. Extras include a vibration function and infra-red port. 'We are not looking to sell this phone on size but looks and design,' Nokia's vice-president of mobile phones in Asia-Pacific, Nigel Litchfield, said. He would not say what the price might be. While relatively small in size, manufacturers are keen to target the Hong Kong market because consumers replace their handsets more frequently than anywhere else. Nokia's general manager for mobile phones for greater China, Pertti Simovaara, reckons this happens once in every 12 months rather than on average every 2.5 years in the rest of the world. 'We can expect the replacement market to soon overtake the new subscriber market,' he said. Nokia does not give a breakdown of its market share in Hong Kong or the mainland, but says that of a worldwide market of 21.3 million mobile phones sold in 1997, it had 21 per cent. For all manufacturers, Asia, and particularly the mainland, is the key growth area. A recent forecast by Ericsson predicted Asia-Pacific would be the biggest market for cellular subscribers by the end of 2003. It reckoned the number of subscribers would exceed 830 million, giving a compound annual growth rate of 27 per cent between 1998 and 2003. At the end of last year, North America had the highest number of subscribers with 60 million mobile phone users. Nokia said the Asian economic crisis so far had little effect on sales. 'It is really too early to say for this year. Mobiles seem to be affected less than other segments because people are still buying them as business tools,' Mr Litchfield said. The company has not changed its long-term projects for the region. Nokia has been cushioned from the crisis as the main countries affected - Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and the Philippines - account for less than 5 per cent of total revenues. In terms of dual-band phones that can roam between GSM 900 and 1800 automatically, Mr Litchfield said there were no plans to introduce such a product to Hong Kong, but Nokia would do so when there was a need. Ericsson recently unveiled its first commercial dual-band handset, though it has not been launched in Hong Kong. Motorola's dual-band cd928 was launched in Hong Kong this week.