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Knockoffs, sticker shock threats to RIM's China plans

Chris Ziegler

Though it should hardly come as a shock to readers familiar with our Keepin' it real fake series, RIM might be surprised to find a bounty of BlackBerry-alikes as they enter the mainland Chinese market, undercutting a source of otherwise significant new revenue as millions of new folks discover the addictive devices for the first time. Though unlicensed knockoff manufacturers typically don't fly in the US or Western Europe, Reuters points out that it can cost as little as $125K to bring one online in China -- a compelling proposition in one of the world's hottest mobile markets. What's more, they're finding that some Chinese are buying BlackBerrys strictly for their, uh, sound quality and good looks (can ya believe it?) but are bypassing China Mobile's email hookup entirely, citing it as overpriced. Could the BlackBerry end up a boon for customers in the world's most populous country, yet a bust for RIM?

[Thanks, David]

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