Blackberrys Too Secure For Chinese Market?

The global ambitions of Research In Motion Ltd. have known few bounds since the company began signing up scores of major carriers, from Iceland to Turkey. But the maker of BlackBerry devices is facing an entirely new challenge as it tries to penetrate the biggest emerging market of all. In China, the launch of RIM’s wireless service has been quietly delayed, in part because of government concerns over its inability to control the communications technology.

China is worried that the high-level encryption technology in the BlackBerrys could make it difficult for security authorities there to gain access to e-mail messages, a source said Tuesday. Agents routinely monitor e-mail messages on China’s Internet servers, which are all state-controlled.

RIM received some high-level political assistance Tuesday when Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty showcased the BlackBerry, and the company’s case, to a Chinese cabinet minister. A senior RIM executive would not confirm whether BlackBerry’s launch has been delayed because of problems with the government. However, Mr. McGuinty said the company told him that “some prerequisites” from the government are not yet satisfied. With almost 400 million users, China is the world’s biggest cellphone market, and RIM expects it to become a key market for its BlackBerry handheld devices.

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