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Here’s How Fast Indonesia Is Becoming a Major Market for BlackBerry

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Nov. 20 2020, Updated 10:37 a.m. ET

Joint venture with Indonesian mobile operator

In fiscal 2Q17, BlackBerry (BBRY) entered into a licensing agreement and JV (joint venture), known as BB Merah Putih, with Indonesia-based PT Tiphone. Tiphone is an affiliate of Indonesia’s largest mobile carrier, Telkomsel.

According to this agreement, BB Merah Putih will “manufacture, distribute and promote BlackBerry-branded devices running BlackBerry’s secure Android software and applications” in Indonesia. BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer John Chen stated that this JV, including the affiliate, accounts for almost 50% of Indonesia’s mobile market.

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BlackBerry messenger popular in Indonesia

BlackBerry’s BBM messaging service is the most popular platform in Indonesia. Over 250 million customers have access to BBM with 60 million MAU’s (monthly active users). By comparison, the monthly active users for peer messaging platform’s such as Facebook Messenger (FB) and WhatsApp in Indonesia stand at 50 million, according to the UK firm We Are Social.

For 2016, companies had to manufacture and source at least 20% of their goods from domestic suppliers (for 4G devices) in Indonesia. This figure will rise to 30% in calendar 2017 and 40% in calendar 2018. Indonesia relaxed its sourcing rules in July 2016 when the government stated that firms can now meet the criteria of local content and include software or investments in 4G tablets and smartphones.

Leading smartphone manufacturers such as Apple (AAPL) and Xiaomi might open R&D (research and development) centers in Indonesia. Notably, Lenovo (LNVGY), Samsung (SSNLF) and Oppo opened local facilities in the country last year.

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