PETALING JAYA: Maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, Research in Motion (RIM), sees Malaysia playing a key role in its plans for continued investment and growth in the region.
Malaysia is a market where you have a great mix of enterprise, SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and consumers, said Gregory Wade, regional managing director for East Asia at RIM.
“The country is a commercial hub with a healthy appetite for high-tech commercial solutions, and serves as a belwether for developing economies in the region,” he said.
RIM enjoyed a year-on-year growth of 14% in Malaysia, according to IDC’s Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker 2Q 2011 survey. Overall, smartphone shipments grew by 48% year-on-year.
John Cheah, market analyst for telecom and mobile research at IDC Asia Pacific, said BlackBerrys have carved a niche for themselves, with their longstanding heritage in quality physical QWERTY keypads and being synonymous with enterprise mobility.
He said this provides an advantage for users, specifically those who are active with social media (Facebook and Twitter) and short messaging (BlackBerry Messenger, WhatsApp) services.
“You can already see competing brands coming out with their own respective QWERTY models, on top of their full touchscreen products,” he said.
As part of its continued investment in the country, RIM announced earlier this year that it will be manufacturing BlackBerrys in Penang, a northern state in Peninsular Malaysia, for use by consumers around the world.
Wade noted that the country stands out for its strong base of application developers, and highlighted the 100-strong Malaysian contingent that attended last year’s BlackBerry Developer Day.
RIM’s BlackBerry Academic Programme also has a prominent standing in the country, with Universiti Malaysia Pahang as one of the participating institutions. The programme provides colleges and universities with a curriculum to offer courses in administering, supporting and developing apps for the BlackBerry platform.
With the just launched BlackBerry Bold 9790 and Curve 9380 scheduled to hit the Malaysian market next month, RIM expects the new phones to be a hit with consumers here.
“We know Malaysians are heavy social-media users and love touchscreen interfaces, so we will be positioning the Curve 9380 accordingly,” Wade said. — GABEY GOH
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