Growing BlackBerrys Worldwide Appeal Is Crucial
RIM has a solid international following, which early on had helped to obscure the fact that its fortunes were turning. Even now, its phones "crush" sales of iPhones and Android phones in places like South Africa and Indonesia, where BlackBerry Messenger is "RIM's secret weapon," as a blog post on Seeking Alpha described it Aug. 21. As tricky as the U.S. market has been, China is another that RIM will need to figure out. It recently became the world's leading phone market, and Apple and others have emphasized its potential and importance to their businesses, while finding it challenging to navigate. According to Canalys, consumer preferences in China have leaned toward domestic brands such as Lenovo, ZTE and Huawei."Absolutely, for me, China is a key market," said Heins. "And not that much in the high volume, low end ... but really in the aspirational devices, the high-mid tier." On July 26, RIM launched the Bold 9900 from Beijing. "We're investing in China, we have a team there, we're building software for China," said Heins. "I absolutely have the aspiration to get BlackBerry [more thoroughly] into China." For now, however, the company's focus remains on getting BlackBerry 10 to market. Heins loosely segued to a conversation about the Olympics and said that he'd recently watched the rowing competition. He made the analogy about RIM's employees being in sync and currently pushing with all their might toward the finish line. "The last 500 meters," Heins said with emphasis, "are the toughest." Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.
Still, the country presents an enormous opportunity, and Heins, like other tech CEOs, understands its potential as an alternative to relying heavily on North America and Europe.