BlackBerry maker aims for more Asian partners

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Research In Motion Ltd, maker of BlackBerry wireless email devices, said on Wednesday it expected to form partnerships with up to 10 Asian carriers over the next 6 months to tap strong demand. “The market is huge. We have just started,” said Norm Lo, vice president for Asia Pacific at RIM, who was in Bangkok to promote its BlackBerry services through unlisted TA Orange PCL, Thailand’s third largest mobile phone operator.

The Canadian firm enters markets worldwide by signing agreements with local wireless carriers, which then offer services using the BlackBerry name and signature PDA-like devices. It now offers services through 16 partners in 8 Asian countries: India, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and the Philippines.


RIM is also working with China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd. to offer BlackBerry services in China, the world’s biggest cellular market, he said. Its Asia expansion comes amid an aggressive worldwide campaign that saw its subscriber base rise significantly in recent years.

RIM has about 3.65 million subscribers worldwide, more than double the 1.657 million users of a year earlier, and is expected to reach 5 million at the end of the fiscal year ending February 2006, Lo said.

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