Nokia said on Wednesday it would start to sell its new range of smartphones using Microsoft's Windows Phone software in China from April through China Telecom, the third-largest operator in the country.

Nokia, the world's largest cellphone maker by volume, also unveiled two models tailored for the Chinese market, versions of its Lumia 610 and Lumia 800 models.

Shares in Nokia rose on the news, up 3.5 percent at 4.136 euros by 0743 GMT.

This is an encouraging step into the burgeoning China market. Nokia's distribution and local focus are big advantages but it needs tangible early success to win commitment from the bigger operators, said Geoff Blaber, analyst at CCS Insight in London.

Nokia's share of the Chinese smartphone market - the largest market globally - fell to 30 percent last year from 70 percent in 2010 as it lost ground to Apple, Samsung and local players, according to researcher Strategy Analytics.

(Reporting by Terril Jones; Writing by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)