RIM to open flagship stores across ME to cash in on high demand

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Photo - Reuters

According to a Bloomberg report, Research In Motion is preparing to open stores across the Middle East where demand for its BlackBerry phones has been on rise despite gloomy sales in the US.

Sandeep Saihgal, managing director of RIM’s Middle East business, said the company is finalising a lease deal for a flagship store of up to 1,500 square feet (140 sq. metres) in one of Dubai’s glitzy malls.

He added that RIM intends to open stores with Axiom Telecom, its local partner.

“We’re getting the first one up and running and then we’ll be looking at other cities across the Middle East – in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar,” Saihgal said in an interview at company’s headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario.

Policymakers at the Canadian mobile-maker are devising a strategy in which more focus will be laid on developing regions like the Middle East and North Africa, South East Asia and Latin America and cash-in on Blackberry’s popularity among businesspersons and young people alike. RIM has seen a slide in sales across the US as many Americans are abandoning their BlackBerrys for Apple’s iPhone or handsets with Android OS installed.

According to recent International Data Corporation report, shipments in the Middle East and Africa more than doubled to 2.29m units in Q4 from a year earlier thanks to the raging popularity of free instant-messaging BlackBerry Messenger services. The IDC data also suggested that RIM’s Blackberry is outselling the iPhone by a margin of 4-to-1.

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