BEIJING (Reuters) – Digital China, a Hong Kong-listed information technology company, is to distribute Research In Motion’s Blackberry handsets, accelerating RIM’s effort to expand into mainland China.
The agreement will “help RIM further expand its business in China” by giving it access to Digital China’s national distribution network, the two companies said on Monday.
The Blackberry phone and email device is still a relatively uncommon sight in China, in spite of being available for several years.
“Digital China’s extensive knowledge and market presence will further expand the opportunity for RIM in China,” Jim Balsillie, the co-CEO of RIM, said in a statement sent to reporters.
Digital China is a unit of Legend Holdings, which is also the parent company of PC maker Lenovo.
China Telecom, one of the country’s top three mobile carriers, said in June it had approached RIM about possibly offering the BlackBerry mobile service in China.
Executives from RIM and China Mobile, the world’s biggest mobile carrier by subscribers, are due to hold a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday about plans to strengthen cooperation in China.
China Mobile has offered BlackBerry devices in China since 2006, but has not strongly promoted the service.
China’s other major mobile carrier, Unicom, has also said in the past that it was in talks with RIM about offering the BlackBerry service.
(Reporting by Chris Buckley and Simon Rabinovitch; editing by John Stonestreet and Simon Jessop)