BlackBerry in talks with HK govt on platform upgrade

November 28, 2014 09:52
BlackBerry is building on its strengths in data security with new technology that allows enterprise users to seamlessly glide between platforms. Photo: HKEJ

BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY.US) is in talks with the Hong Kong government to upgrade its mobile communications platform, according to a senior executive.

"We are in the tendering process now. It may take a few months to go through the whole process," John Sims, president of global enterprise solution, told EJ Insight.

On Nov. 13, Blackberry launched a cross-platform service that allows enterprise users to switch between different operating systems including Apple's iOs, Windows and Android.   

BlackBerry recently signed Trusted Source, a member of Singapore's Temasek Management Service Group, to the new platform, called BES 12, Networks Asia reported on Nov. 21.

Trusted Source is BlackBerry's first Asian client on the new service.

Sims said a great majority of enterprise users are concerned about security and management on mobile devices.

BES 12 builds on Blackberry's strengths in data security, he said.

Enterprises can add a separate corporate phone number to a personal device brought in by the employee.

"This allows the enterprise to pay for the work line while allowing employees to keep their personal line for personal use," Sims said.

BlackBerry has established a strategic partnership with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to provide a secure solution for Android users.

From next year, enterprise customers will have a new choice in a tightly integrated, end-to-end secure platform.

That will see BES 12 work with Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets that are embedded with its KNOX technology.

"The transformation plan is going in line with our expectations," Sims said.

He expects the company turn a profit in the next financial year.

BlackBerry reported a US$5.87 billion adjusted loss from continuing operations for the year to March 1, up from a US$646 million loss in the previous year.

China plans

Sims said the company is not ready to re-enter mainland China.

"If we are re-entering the market, we will do it at full speed," Sims said.

"We would like to get the transformation solid before we take a step toward China and it might take a few years."

BlackBerry will tap potential partners that fully understand the Chinese market and have a wide domestic network.

Chief executive John Chen has met Lenovo head Yang Yuanqing and Xiaomi founder Lei Jun to explore potential partnerships, according to Bloomberg.

Last year, BlackBerry quietly exited the Chinese market, saying only that its core sales team was "all gone".

It was a departure from its withdrawals from Japan and Korea which were officially announced.

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Ayishah Ma is a financial reporter on Greater China issues.