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Hutchison, RIM Launch Wireless Email in Hong Kong

May 6, 2002 

Ports-to-telecoms conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd <0013.HK> and Canadian firm Research In Motion on Monday launched the BlackBerry wireless email service in Hong Kong and aim to bring the premium service to China and other Asian markets.

Hutchison Group managing director Canning Fok said Hutchison Telecommunications Ltd was angling for a partner in the vast Chinese market for the new service, which was being offered to the telecoms unit's 1.7 million cellular subscribers in Hong Kong on its Orange network.

A launch Macau would follow, he said.

"They (BlackBerry) have more than 14,000 corporate clients in North America, we hope we can have at least 13,000 here," Fok told reporters after the announcing the pact.

The handheld device, which allows users to receive, manage and respond to e-mail sent to their desktop computers, is being pitched at corporate clients priced at between HK$1,880 ($241) and $HK3,980.

Jim Balsillie, chairman of RIM which invented the BlackBerry technology, said the company planned to market the device in Singapore, Taiwan and Australia next.

Fok declined to specify the company's plans for the Chinese market. He added that Hutchison and RIM intended to cooperate on developing 3G applications for Hutchison's 3G markets worldwide.

Hutchison Telecoms Managing Director Agnes Nardi said the new service was likely to have a "positive" impact on the company's levels of average revenue per user.

Hutchison's shares rose 0.36 percent to HK$70.00 on Monday, but are down 1.76 percent in the three months through Friday's close. (US$1=HK$7.8)

Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited.

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