NEW YORK – The company behind the BlackBerry on Thursday said it will launch its mobile e-mail service in China, where it already has homegrown competition: the Redberry.
BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM) is teaming up with China Mobile Communications Corp., the country's largest cell phone company, to launch service nationwide next week.
The BlackBerries themselves won't initially be on sale in China, so the focus will be on serving businesspeople who bring their devices from overseas.
The companies said sales of BlackBerries will be announced at a later date.
China's second-largest cell phone carrier, China Unicom Ltd., has launched a BlackBerry-like service for a non-BlackBerry mobile device.
Its technology partner calls the software program that enables the service "Redberry" — an obvious reference to the BlackBerry that would fall afoul of trademark laws in most countries.
Jim Balsillie, Canada-based RIM's co-chief executive, has called the Redberry name "weird," but has so far announced no plans for legal action.
Both China Mobile and China Unicom are controlled by the Chinese government.