China Telecom is reportedly in “preliminary contacts” with RIM to distribute BlackBerry devices in China. China Telecom is China’s largest fixed-line operator by subscribers.
While getting a device sold in China is a very lucrative prospect due to the vast population size of China, it may turn out to be more work than it’s worth. Some analysts are saying that the BlackBerry represents just “another handset choice,” which shouldn’t have much positive impact on China Telecom’s mobile operation. Another factor to consider is whether the BlackBerry device is a cultural fit for the Chinese.
Marvin Lo, a Daiwa Securities analyst, says the Chinese prefer short SMS communication, and a mobile email platform isn’t their preferred means of communication. “Indeed local Chinese prefer short-message service, or SMS, to email as a way of communications,” he said. “I don’t think this data-oriented device can be a big hit in China.”
I’m hoping it will be a success for RIM because the Asia Pacific market could transform RIM into a truly global organization.