Research in Motion is set to unveil a third straight quarter of losses on Thursday, and as well as touting the launch of its BlackBerry 10 smartphones as the solution to falling market shares in the US and UK, the Canadian group is looking for regional growth pockets. It seems to think it has found that in Africa.
The company does not publish revenue from Africa, but RIM’s performance in the region, where it is the number one smartphone vendor, has been strong. South Africa, where it holds a 45 percent market share, is the company’s fourth biggest world market, after the UK, Indonesia and the US, according to Canalys, the research group; and in 2011, buoyed by preferential tariffs, BlackBerry shipments to the country grew 523 percent. In Nigeria, where huge mobile market growth rates recently prompted RIM to open its first retail store in the country, BlackBerries account for half of all 4m smartphones subscriptions, Informa Telecoms & Media says.
As one of the few regions in which RIM is still dominates, the continent is clawing its way up the group’s priority list. When it releases BlackBerry 10 – the next-generation devices it hopes will revive its fortunes – on January 30, South Africa and Nigeria will receive the new phones in the first sales wave.
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