The Canadian company which manufactures the BlackBerry has been given permission to sell the handheld e-mail device in China for the first time.
Research in Motion (RIM) has secured the authorisation of the Chinese government after an eight-year battle to access the market the last major economy in Asia which has yet to adopt the BlackBerry.
RIM joint chief executive Jim Balsillie revealed in a conference call last week that the company would be seeking to target corporate customers in key Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, the Associated Press reports.
It is claimed that RIM will strengthen its relationship with China Mobile in order to raise the profile of the Blackberry in the communist country, where the government has proved wary of new technologies such as the internet.
A manager at RIM's Beijing office told Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper that the Chinese government finally authorised the company to sell the BlackBerry there last month.
He confirmed that the firm had already received 5,000 advance orders for the device in China, where the BlackBerry will go on sale at the end of next month.
"It's a high-end device, mainly for the needs of business people, but I expect the sales will be as hot as in other countries in the future," the RIM manager said.
The authorisation comes at a good time for RIM, which will now see the BlackBerry face competition in the United States from Apple's newly launched iPhone.
With almost 500 million mobile phone users already in China, the market could prove to be lucrative for RIM and the company is reportedly considering a plan to manufacture the BlackBerry in the Asian country in order to boost sales.