Nokia is a public limited liability company listed on the Helsinki, Frankfurt, and New York stock exchanges. Nokia plays a very large role in the economy of Finland; it is by far the largest Finnish company, accounting for about a third of the market capitalization of the Helsinki Stock Exchange
Nokia's history starts in 1865 when engineer Fredrik Idestam established a groundwood pulp mill on the banks of the Tammerkoski rapids in the town of Tampere, in southwestern Finland, and started manufacturing paper. In 1868, Idestam built a second mill near the town of Nokia, fifteen kilometres (nine miles) west of Tampere by the Nokianvirta river, which had better resources for hydropower production. In 1871, Idestam, with the help of his close friend statesman Leo Mechelin, renamed and transformed his firm into a share company, thereby founding the Nokia Company, the name it is still known by today.
The name of the town, Nokia, originated from the river which flowed through the town. The river itself, Nokianvirta, was named after the archaic Finnish word originally meaning a small, dark-furred animal that lived on the banks of the Nokianvirta river
In the 1970s, Nokia became more involved in the telecommunications industry by developing the Nokia DX200, a digital switch for telephone exchanges. In 1982, a DX200 switch became the world's first digital telephone switch to be put into operational use. The DX200 became the workhorse of the network equipment division. Its modular and flexible architecture enabled it to be developed into various switching products.
For a while in the 1970s, Nokia's network equipment production was separated into Telefenno, a company jointly owned by the parent corporation and by a company owned by the Finnish state. In 1987, the state sold its shares to Nokia and in 1992 the name was changed to Nokia Telecommunications.