RIM just officially announced that it would introduce its service in China through a partnership with China Mobile in the upcoming months. But analysts say the deal will be of limited significance to both companies, for reasons as diverse as national security and style.
“The push e-mail market in China is pretty limited,” said Kelvin Ho, an analyst at Nomura in Hong Kong. “Is it material for China Mobile? No.”
RIM said it “will initially focus on supporting multinational corporations with operations in China.”
The limitation to multinationals, which severely constrains the BlackBerry’s market size, may reflect the company’s failure to win government approval for broader distribution. This may be due to the fact that RIM’s encryption software makes it impossible for authorities to decode e-mail sent by BlackBerry. The ability to monitor communications is a key consideration for Chinese officials when regulating new technology.
According to a report in Canada’s Globe & Mail, China’s concerns about national security delayed the BlackBerry’s introduction there by as much as two years.