BlackBerry Ltd Seeks Partners in China, Meets With Lenovo, Xiaomi

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BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) CEO John Chen has met with Xiaomi Corp and Lenovo Group heads in an attempt to expand their partnership with the Chinese companies, according to Bloomberg. China is the largest smartphone market in the world, and BlackBerry security, encryption and privacy services are popular in the country.

Chen explores options for BlackBerry in China

Further, the company could come across the possibilities of agreements on technology licensing, distribution or manufacturing, according to Chen, who stated this during an interview on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation CEO summit. Chen met Yang Yuanqing, head of Lenovo, and CEO Lei Jun of Xiaomi. These meetings are of vital significance to BlackBerry, as the company is trying to revive from current lows due to weak phone shipments resulting in losses in each of the past three years.

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Chen said, “It does seem that a more efficient way is to have a good partner to be here.”

Chen added that he is in China to dig deeper for opportunities, adding that the company has not really focused on this market, which is a huge one but at the same time very competitive. Chen also met Cher Wang, chairwoman of Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC Corp.

Outcomes of meetings not revealed

Chen did not reveal details on the conversations he had with Lenovo and Xiaomi. Both Lenovo and Xiaomi also declined to comment about the meetings. Chen did say, however, that it is “way too early” to determine a result from the talks in China.

The Canadian smartphone maker brought John Chen on board as CEO to turn around the company’s situation, as it was sinking under losses, declining smartphone shipments and falling market share to the likes of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics. Chen tried to turn around the situation to some extent by outsourcing production, selling assets and alluring business customers back by offering BlackBerry’s classic QWERTY keypad phones and software-based services.

The moves made by Chen are aimed at achieving break-even cash flow by the end of this fiscal year and a return to profit in the next year. In September, the much-hyped BlackBerry Passport was launched, selling 200,000 units shortly after its debut. The Passport is aimed toward business users who need to write emails frequently and perform functions on spreadsheets, along with reading documents on their phones.

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