The Chinese market has expanded to such a size that, as a hardware manufacturer, ignoring it could end up being a mistake. While BlackBerry CEO John Chen readily admits it is difficult to ignore, in an interview with Reuters, he still has no plans of expanding into China.
For the time being, at least, BlackBerry seems focused on strengthening its presence in emerging markets where the company already has a foothold, such as India and Southeast Asia. “It takes too long to ramp up to a size that is even reasonable [in China],” said Chen. “Even if I have that time and money, I’ll probably have better returns going into a different set of markets that we are already in.
The underlying issue at hand is China’s maintenance of censorship through user data requests. With BlackBerry placing an emphasis on security and enterprise encryption, as highlighted by its partnership with Samsung, the company would find itself in a tricky position in certain situations if the Chinese government asked for specific data. In other words, according to Chen, there would be no compromise between requests the Chinese government could make and BlackBerry’s precedence on security.
Even so, Chen recognized there are “opportunities” for expansion into the Chinese market, though the CEO did not elaborate as to what that means.