It's taken a few years, but the BlackBerry is finally coming to China.
Research in Motion (RIM) co-CEO Jim Balsillie announced the news during a conference call with analysts late last week, saying that the devices had finally been certified for sale in China during the first quarter of 2007. "We're finalising delivery availability in the mainland. We're excited to move forward to deliver BlackBerry to corporate customers in key cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, where there's strong interest in the BlackBerry solution," he said during the call.
RIM has been working with China Mobile Communications to launch the push email devices in China, but it has struggled to clear regulatory hurdles. Last year, RIM had said it expected to be selling the BlackBerry as early as May 2006.
With more than 400 million mobile device subscribers, the fast-growing China market is an attractive one for RIM.
On Thursday, a company spokeswoman could not say when the BlackBerry was set to be introduced, but a report in Toronto's Globe and Mail said the BlackBerry 8700g would show up in Chinese shops by month's end, retailing for approximately CDN$700 (£330).
The BlackBerry delay has provided an opportunity for China Mobile's rival, China United Telecommunications (China Unicom), which introduced its own ‘RedBerry’ push email service last year.