John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry, said he has no plans of expanding into China despite admitting it’s “too big a market to ignore.” In an interview with Reuters, Chen said the company is currently focused on emerging markets where BlackBerry already has a strong presence, such as India and Southeast Asia.
“It takes too long to ramp up to a size that is even reasonable [in China]” Chen said. “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 problem with tackling China’s immense market is that the country is notorious for requesting user data in an effort to maintain censorship. BlackBerry puts a precedence on security and enterprise encryption, so even if the Chinese government asked for specific data, BlackBerry says it wouldn’t be able to provide the necessary information in certain situations. Chen said it would be a challenge to find a compromise between government requests and BlackBerry’s famous levels of security that both sides were comfortable with.
BlackBerry this week announced a new partnership with Samsung to provide Android users with a higher level of security for the enterprise market. Chen has made it a priority to focus on BlackBerry’s corporate and government relationships in order to rebuild business.
Although there are no immediate plans to jump in China, Chen recognizes there are certainly “opportunities,” but wouldn’t elaborate on what that entails.