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January 16, 2008

RIM's BlackBerry Smartphone May Be Sold in China Soon

By Shamila Janakiraman, TMCnet Contributing Editor

TCL Corp., manufacturer and distributor of blackberry handsets, announced that they have dispatched Blackberry handsets to its partner firm China Mobile at the end of last year. This may indicate that China Mobile is planning to launch the BlackBerry (News - Alert) in China soon said a Reuters news release.

Research In Motion has been trying to enter the Chinese market with its BlackBerry as it was one of the world’s biggest telecom markets and was also the only Asian market not yet penetrated by the BlackBerry smartphone.
RIM’s sustained efforts have resulted in the announcement by Chinese newspapers that the smartphone may hit the market soon. Although the actual decision of when the smartphone would reach shops would be decided by China Mobile (News - Alert).
BlackBerry handset with email capabilities is likely to be pitched against local products and services which may cost lesser according to the news release.
TCL Multimedia and TCL Communication, units of parent TCL Corp. further confirmed that handsets have been sent to China Mobile, end of last year itself.
Lorna Wong, spokesperson for TCL group said, “They’ve shipped the handsets, yes, but the decision on when they go on sale lies with China Mobile. TCL would not forecast sales or take-up.”
Although BlackBerry has not been officially sold in mainland China, it seems to have found a way in from auction sites and through the black market said RIM.
RIM’s BlackBerry smartphones available from 300 carriers in 120 countries world wide feels that its concurrent deal with Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) for distribution in China besides its partnership with China Mobile would give it a good entry into the Chinese market.
It is reported that the number of wireless users in China is more than the population of the U.S. The delay in the launch of BlackBerry in China may be due to doubts from Chinese authorities regarding security threat to the Chinese communication networks according to some analysts news release said.
Shamila Janakiraman is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
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