Remember Luxury Mobile Brand Vertu? Here’s Why It Went Bankrupt

Vertu. Does that name ring a bell?

If it doesn’t, then here’s some brief introduction: it’s a high-end phone by Nokia, which sold the brand away in 2012 but still held 10% of the shares.

One phone could cost well over $20,000, and up to half a million dollars.

Here’s a model that we old uncles are more familiar with, when Nokia 3310 was the hottest phone then.

Image: wikipedia.org

Think of it as a phone made with gold: the above phone, known as a Vertu Signature, has five carats of ruby bearings. It’s the mobile phone industry’s answer to Rolex, and it sat well with rich people who did not want to be seen carrying a Nokia 3310.

Through the years, you might think that Vertu, together with its BFF Nokia, has died off, but no, not yet—until recently, that is.

The latest phone they introduced is the Signature Touch. Launched in 2015, it runs on Android with a Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 processor, 2 GB RAM and has a 13MP camera.

The phone, with 130 carats sapphire crystal, also includes a dedicated concierge. And if you would like to, you can customize the phone to your liking.

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Because it cost a whopping SGD$11,000. That’s considered reasonable for a Vertu phone liao.

And just for comparison’s sake, the Samsung Galaxy S8 has an Octa-core processor, 4GB RAM and a 12 MP camera. We don’t really need to compare the price here, do we?

By the way, you can also customize the S8 to your liking via your friendly Ah Beng shops.

So, why is Vertu liquidating?

For a start, let’s just say that you won’t need to be a genius to guess why, but let’s let the facts do the talking instead.

Earlier this year, there has been a planned change in the brand’s ownership, with the new owner willing to pay SGD$3.4m, but…the company apparently has a debt of SGD$229.8m debt.

No one has openly said why they’re SGD$229.8m in debt, but here’s an educated guess: people not siao lah.

Different Habits of Rich People

Apparently, the way rich people tinker with their phones is different now: instead of just buying a brand like Vertu and getting stuck at its specs, they would buy a normal phone (say, S8) and add in the gold by a third-party instead.

That kills two birds with one stone: you get a phone with good specs and you get a phone covered in gold. That’s better than getting a phone with a brand.

And if the rich want a 24-hour concierge, I’m pretty sure one of their credit cards has that service.

The company’s liquidation resulted in about 200 people losing their job.

Unless someone has SGD$229.8m spare change, that is.

And I know many of you want a look at how the Signature Touch looks like. Here you go.

Image: ndtv.com

Vertu Resurfaced In 2018

If you’ve thought you heard the last of Vertu, think again.

Despite filing for bankruptcy, they resurfaced briefly in China, this time marketing their wares to rich people in China.


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The concept is similar: sell under-spec phones at ridiculous prices with a 24-hour real-life human butler.

Interesting.

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