Research In Motion Ltd., maker of BlackBerry handheld telecom devices, announced yesterday it will establish a $230-million technical support centre in the Halifax area — a move hailed by some observers as the most significant outside investment in Nova Scotia in 30 years.
Flanked by federal and provincial ministers, RIM chairman and co-chief executive officer Jim Balsillie said the centre will employ about 1,250 people when it is fully operational in five years. The company will initially hire about 300 people when the centre opens in a little more than a year.
The Halifax office will not be a call centre, Mr. Balsillie said, but a location from which RIM can provide engineering support for the 15,000 networks that use BlackBerrys around the world. It will also develop customer support services, which need to be continually upgraded since mobile phone and Internet technology is constantly changing.
He added that technical support is probably the fastest-growing segment of the technology industry in the world now, and RIM may end up employing more than 1,250 people. The company now has 1,000 people in technical support in Waterloo, Ont., where it is headquartered, and smaller outfits in England and Asia.
“We have pent-up demand right now,” Mr. Balsillie said. “We plan to begin hiring at job fairs as soon as possible.”
The company is now considering three or four sites in the Halifax area, including business parks in Dartmouth, across the harbour from Halifax.