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RIM Markets BlackBerry to Individual Users in Mainland China


8:38 am
June 25, 2010



posts 215

GUANGZHOU, Jun 24, 2010 (SinoCast Daily Business Beat via COMTEX) –
Thrilled with the overwhelming popularity of iPhone in Mainland China, Research In Motion Limited (RIM and NASDAQ: RIMM) finally decides to make its sparkling BlackBerry available for individual users in the world's most populous smartphone market.

The Canada-based company has put two models of BlackBerry on the shelf of three Guangzhou-based outlets of Suning Appliance Co., Ltd. (SZSE: 002024) to sound out local demand.

"Consumers will have an access to 8310 and 8910 in three Suning outlets in Guangzhou from Monday," said an executive for the Guangzhou Suning 3C division, noting that 9530, a touch-screen model introduced by China Telecom, one of the Big Three telecom operators in the country, will be put up for sale in two weeks.

The two 2G models, one price at CNY 3,680 and the other at CNY 4,880, are preinstalled with applications such as Fetion and securities tool to win favor of individual users across the country.

"RIM is very cautious, it will not expand the products to other stores provided that they are not well received in the first three stores," according to the Suning executive. In a bid to boost its sales, RIM has opened BlackBerry experience platforms in the major Suning outlets in 22 cities across the country.

Other mobile phone retailers that will market the individual user-tailored BlackBerry include D.Phone Mobile Retail Chain (D.Phone), Hengxin, and ZoomFlight.

RIM will strive to make China the second biggest BlackBerry market in the world on a par with North America, said Gregory Shea, president for RIM China, in an earlier interview. Statistics from Nielsen showed that BlackBerry took up 35% of the US smartphone market in the first quarter of 2010, ranking first and followed by iPhone, whose market share stood at 28%.

However, the Waterloo, Ontario-headquartered company may find it a little bit difficult to achieve its ambitious goal. Smuggled BlackBerry 8310 has a reference price of CNY 850 on online IT platform Zol.com.cn, one fifth that of the authorized product, disclosed people familiar with the matter, noting that the 8310 model has debuted the market as early as 2007.

The unauthorized BlackBerry 8910, on the other hand, is available at CNY 3,528 at the lowest on Taobao.com, more than CNY 1,300 cheaper than the licensed version, pointed out one of the people, adding that the 8G version of iPhone is sold at CNY 4,888 in the country at the moment.

(USD 1 = CNY 6.83)


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