BlackBerry, Facing Competition, Finds New Market

As Apple’s iPhone and other smartphones make a serious challenge to its stranglehold on the North American business market, BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion is finding some success in Indonesia.

The Financial Times goes as far as to call what’s happening in Indonesia a “BlackBerry phenomenon.” People there are disposing of their old Nokia phones and picking up smartphones, particularly BlackBerrys.

A large middle class is starting to emerge in Indonesia, which has the biggest economy in Southeast Asia. Many are joining BlackBerry fan clubs and sharing their experiences at coffee shops and the like. A new BlackBerry tips Web site in Indonesia already has 3,000 online followers.

There is still a long way to go for RIM. Indonesian sales were up 400 percent in 2009, but there are still only a few million users in a country of 230 million people. Nokia remains the dominant leader there, with 80 percent of the market. Yet RIM’s rise is worth noting as a potential threat.

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