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BlackBerry still a leading smartphone player in Saudi Arabia
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 07 - 10 - 2013

JEDDAH – With smartphone penetration in the Middle East among the highest in the world, it is expected that growth will be faster than the EMEA average over the next five years, Khaled Kefel, BlackBerry Managing Director for Saudi Arabia, said.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are ranked among the top markets for smartphone subscribers and we see this trend continuing as populations grow and people transition from feature phones to smart devices, he said.
The Middle East also continues to be one of the strongest regions for BlackBerry globally, and we remain highly competitive in the smartphone market in this region. According to data provided by research firm GfK, BlackBerry was the #2 best-selling brand in KSA in July this year. Additionally, 99 percent of all BlackBerry users in KSA use BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM) to stay in contact with their networks, families, friends and colleagues, one of the highest customer use rates in the world. As such, this is an extremely important country to us and we continue to ensure we are committed to investing in it – for example, Saudi Arabia was one of the key launch markets for our BlackBerry 10 smartphone range, including the BlackBerry Z10, Q10, Q5 and just in the past week, the new BlackBerry Z30.

“We are seeing an increasing demanding from our customers to stay connected and be productive while on the move and our company's heritage is built on consumer users and business leaders that value productivity and connectivity as their top priorities during the day – whether this be their corporate emails or even their social media networks. We continue to work with our partners in KSA to deliver BlackBerry 10 to our target markets in a variety of ways – through the channel, in-store and online. Now more than ever, we want to ensure our users gain access to the technologies, features and applications that will allow them to work more efficiently,” Kefel further said.
Moreover, “we work with our carrier partners to ensure that BlackBerry subscription plans for both our enterprise and consumer customers are highly competitive and support the high roaming trend of our Saudi customers. We have established strong distribution and retail networks that allow us to provide BlackBerry to our customers in everything from the largest electronic retailers to the smallest souk shops. We also work with government organizations, local businesses and media organizations to create innovative mobile computing solutions that benefit the community as a whole, such as utility bill payment; news; entertainment, music and sports apps. For example the recently launched Al Hilal Football Club and Al Jazirah newspaper apps,” BlackBerry Managing Director for Saudi Arabia said.
Supporting all of this is a large and varied app ecosystem, which we are extremely dedicated to. BlackBerry has apps – lots of apps. “When we launched BlackBerry 10 earlier this year, we launched with more than 70,000 apps – the highest number for any first generation platform. Now, there are more than 130,000 applications for BlackBerry 10 customers in the BlackBerry World mobile app storefront. We support more than 150 Middle East app developer partners who have been instrumental in our success across the region and here in Saudi Arabia in particular, we partner with the King Saud university to bring resources and course content to budding app developer students that attend the university. In fact, users in the Middle East region download more BlackBerry 10 apps than any of our other markets. KSA leads this trend with UAE in the third place,” he said.
BlackBerry has a strong international brand and we believe that there is still plenty of room for growth in this industry. We remain steadfast in our commitment to our customers and partners in Saudi Arabia. “In a world where choice is king, we have the secure technology and services that users need – no matter what device or platform they have chosen – to keep people moving at home, at work and on the go. Our business is more than just devices – it is software, hardware and services,” Kefel said.
He emphasized that at BlackBerry “we believe in a future where mobile computing is the driving force behind a more intelligent and responsive world. A world where the only computing power you need is in the palm of your hand. The proliferation of mobile devices and the increased intelligence built into connected products creates unprecedented opportunity to bring the future of mobile computing to life – today. While there is much work to do, here in Saudi Arabia we are striving every day to make this vision a reality. We are a part of the most competitive and fastest-moving industry on the planet – the next phase will be very exciting for all of us.” — SG

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