RIM testing Chinese market

Blackberry, a popular wireless e-mail service handheld device, will enter China’s market when a test currently held in Beijing is completed, an official at Canada’s consulate told a high-tech forum in Shanghai on Monday. Blackberry has faced several obstacles in the past when it tried to enter the market, including difficulty of locating servers and high prices, industry sources told Shanghai Daily on Monday.

Tina Shih, the Canadian vice consul, pointed out the Canadian embassy in Beijing has been talking with the regulator of the Chinese telecom industry and telecom carriers on plans to introduce the Blackberry in China.

“The related parties, including China Mobile, are testing the equipment and only some technical problems are left (to be resolved),” said Shih, who declined to reveal more details, including the date of the test completion.

Blackberry, developed by Canada-based Research In Motion, allows users to stay connected with wireless access to e-mail, corporate data, phone and Web. It is already available in most countries including India and Singapore. It is also available in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Katie Lee, RIM’s spokesperson in Hong Kong, was not available to comment yesterday. Gao Songge, China Mobile’s spokesperson also declined to comment on the issue.

China Mobile also plans to launch a Blackberry-like service called “PushMail”, which allows users to send and receive e-mails on existing mobile phones.

Like Blackberry, the “PushMail” service allows users to download several types of files, including pictures, compressed and video files on most cell phones.

PushMail will start in Shanghai next month, said Wang Hua, a Shanghai Mobile’s market director.

The service costs a monthly flat rate of about 100 yuan, a quarter or even less compared with Blackberry’s monthly subscription fee in Singapore, said Guo Qing, product manager of Beijing LeadTone, PushMail’s developer.

PushMail targets Chinese cell phone users while Blackberry’s customers are company executives and foreigners in China, who go abroad regularly, Guo added.

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