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RIM Set to Begin Selling Smart Phones in China

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has shipped the first of its smartphones to China and hopes to start selling them later this year, a major breakthrough for the company in penetrating the huge Asian market.

RIM said Tuesday it struck the Chinese distribution deal with Alcatel-Lucentand that the first handset the new partnership will sell will be the 8700 model.

"China and India are emerging mobile phone behemoths that could contribute millions of subscribers to RIM over the next several years," said Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek.

Investors lauded the company for the long-awaited announcement, driving its shares to a new high. The stock jumped $7.72, or 6.8 percent, to $121.10 on the Nasdaq market.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, it rose C$8.70 to C$120.

RIM has recognized China's importance in its global plans, and first officially announced plans to sell the BlackBerry in China in May 2006.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company already has a partnership with China Mobile for its entry into China, where it will face competition from low-cost rivals, including a popular local service called "RedBerry."

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