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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 July 2007, 07:17 GMT 08:17 UK
Blackberry to go on sale in China
Three people using Blackberry mobile device
The Blackberry will be available in China from next month
Research in Motion (RIM) has won approval to sell its Blackberry handheld e-mail device in China - the world's largest mobile phone market.

The Canadian company said Beijing had given the green light to sell the handsets after an eight-year battle.

The device is expected to be available in shops in the country from August, according to reports, with 5,000 advance orders already received.

The plans come as US regulators investigate the firm's stock options.

In April, the firm announced that an informal internal probe into backdated options approved after RIM's initial public offering in 1997 had become a formal investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Backdating can increase the value of the shares to the owner. While it is legal, a company has to fully inform shareholders of the practice and make sure it is properly accounted for.

Demand strong

Despite the investigation, RIM continues to perform strongly as customer demand for the Blackberry continues to grow.

Earnings for the first three months of the year rose 10-fold, soaring to $187m (94m) from $18.4m a year earlier. Its subscriber base grew by about 1.2 million during the quarter, taking the total number to 9.2 million.

However, industry observers say the product's market share could now be threatened by Apple's much-hyped iPhone, which launched last week and offers phone calls, e-mail, internet access, music and video access.

The firm has linked up with China's biggest mobile phone network China Mobile to launch the Blackberry.

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