TORONTO – Research in Motion has received clearance to sell its popular BlackBerry device in China after eight years of trying. The Canadian-based company says it's finalizing the delivery of its products there.
RIM Co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie, speaking on a conference call with analysts last week, said the company was planning to serve corporate customers in key Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
RIM's move into China comes as it competes in the United States with Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) heavily hyped iPhone, which began selling in the U.S. last Friday. The iPhone can handle phone calls, e-mail, Web browsing, music and videos.
A manager in RIM's Beijing office was quoted in the Globe and Mail newspaper Wednesday as saying RIM expects to start selling its 8700g handset in Chinese shops at the end of next month and has already received 5,000 advance orders.
Balsillie says they'll continue to strengthen their relationship with China Mobile and they plan to increase BlackBerry awareness in China. The BlackBerry already sells in India and Japan.
The Waterloo, Ontario based company said BlackBerry subscriber accounts grew by about 1.2 million during the first quarter for a total of 9.2 million.
RIM stock has surged 26 percent since the company announced first-quarter earnings grew 73 percent thanks to increased sales and subscriber additions — many of them international subscribers.