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BlackBerry may mull exit from S. Korean market: sources

All Headlines 20:51 February 15, 2013

SEOUL, Feb. 15 (Yonhap) -- BlackBerry, a Canadian smartphone maker, may pull out of the South Korean market in the first half of this year due to sluggish sales, industry sources said Friday.

Speculation arose of BlackBerry's possible exit from South Korea following its recent announcement that it plans not to unveil new products in Japan. Industry analysts took it as a move by BlackBerry to leave from South Korea and other countries in the region.

Canadian-based Research in Motion (RIM) changed its name to BlackBerry in January by launching the BlackBerry 10 in an effort to reclaim more market shares in the highly competitive smartphone market.

BlackBerry has suffered from falling sales in the smartphone market currently dominated by the world's two top smartphone makers, Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc.

BlackBerry, whose smartphone is running on its own operating system, has undergone sluggish sales in Asian markets. The number of BlackBerry users has been dwindling in South Korea as users prefer to use Apple Inc.'s iPhone or smartphones running on the Android platform.

BlackBerry's Asian Pacific unit said it plans to continue to support sales of its smartphones in Korea via top mobile carrier SK Telecom. However, it stopped short of elaborating on the speculation of its exit.

Motorola Mobility announced in December its plan to close its mobile business in Korea. In July last year, Taiwanese handset maker HTC Corp. also made official its plan to close its Seoul office due to sluggish sales.

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