updated 9/12/2006 1:25:35 PM ET 2006-09-12T17:25:35

Nokia Corp. announced deals worth more than 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) with Chinese customers on Tuesday, sending the company’s shares up 3 percent.

The contracts, for the whole of 2006, were signed at a meeting of European Union and Chinese business leaders attended by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Finnish counterpart, Matti Vanhanen.

Deliveries began earlier this year, including digital network equipment for China Mobile valued at some 580 million euros ($735 million) and mobile phones worth more than 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) for Chinese national mobile phone distributor PTAC.

“The signing of these two important agreements is a milestone event for Nokia’s operations in China,” Nokia’s Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said.

“We set up our operations more than 20 years ago with a handful of employees and today we employ over 6,700 people in China,” he said.

Nokia has so far invested more than 3.3 billion euros ($4.2 billion) in China. It has increasingly turned its attention to Asia from Europe, where cell phone levels are reaching saturation point.

Nokia estimates that by 2008, the number of global mobile phone owners will increase to 3 billion, with some 80 percent of the growth in the emerging markets of China, India, Southeast Asia and Africa where penetration levels are still relatively low.

Last year, China became Nokia’s largest single market, overtaking the United States, with net sales growing 28 percent to 3.4 billion euros ($4 billion).

Nokia last month announced a $150 million deal to further expand mobile phone networks for Henan MCC, in the 11th expansion of digital networks for Henan Mobile Communication Co. Ltd.

In March, it said it will cooperate with Baidu.com Inc., a leading Chinese-language Internet search provider, to make mobile search easier and more convenient in Chinese-speaking markets, including Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Nokia’s operations in China include two mobile phone manufacturing facilities, two network manufacturing facilities, and six R&D units focusing on both the Chinese and global markets.

Based in Espoo, just outside the Finnish capital, Nokia has sales in 130 countries and 59,000 employees.

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