RIM is opening its first ever official Blackberry store in Vietnam hinting at a more aggressive presence into the country. The store will open in the newly built Vincom A building in the heart of Ho Chi Minh city’s downtown, sharing the new mall space with brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Blackberry clearly wants to enter with a classy start. At the store’s opening on December 12th, it will feature several sales promotions including 50 percent off deals on its leading products of Curve and Bold models, as well as deals with international coffee shop chain, Coffee Bean.
By late 2012, Blackberry has only been able to secure six percent of the growing smartphone market in Vietnam and already faces strong competition from Vietnam’s three major smartphone platforms: Symbian, iOS, and Android who each hold well over 20 percent of the market. This could mean even bigger challenge than what RIM faces in North America with less than 10 percent of the market, but since this space is still growing Blackberry could have some elbow room. In Vietnam, Blackberry’s are relatively new to the market but affordable enough for folks who can’t afford iPhones and aren’t willing to pay cheap prices for tiny Android screens.
The opening of the store is not only an effort to close in on a large potential market but also a build up to RIM’s BB10, a product it believes will finally be able to compete with newer smartphone models which have been ruling the market for the last three years. This is a tall order, and it remains to be seen if Blackberry can deliver the sort of ecosystem that Google and Apple have. Microsoft is also in the hot seat with Windows 8 in a similar way. 2013 will decidedly be the year of catch up for these companies – or possibly, the year that it all goes south.
[Source: Blackberry to Open First Store in Vietnam – article in Vietnamese]