Indonesia is a seriously important market for BlackBerry. Although it no longer holds the top OS spot the Canadian manufacturer still owns the handset market there.
That goes some way to explaining why it’s chosen the South East Asian country to launch BBM Money — a service that will allow BlackBerry owners to send money to each other and which can then be withdrawn from an ATM.
The new service is expected to launch in early 2013, along with BlackBerry 10. Rim will be hoping that its new OS can help return to dominance in Indonesia and regain some of the ground it’s lost around the world.
“Indonesia is very important for RIM,” Hastings Singh, the managing director of RIM’s South Asia operations, told the BBC.
“It’s a huge market for us – and it is a market that has grown significantly over the last few years.
He added that the company couldn’t afford to be complacent, hence its decision to enter the mobile money arena.
“So we are offering a new innovation — BBM Money which will be launched in Indonesia — first in the world — shortly. It is a peer-to-peer transfer service that anyone with a Blackberry phone can use to transfer funds to someone else with a BlackBerry phone.”
Sing reckons that the social nature of the Indonesian population (it has one of the largest Facebook populations in the world), means that it’s perfectly suited for this kind of mobile money service.
“Indonesians spend a large amount of time communicating with their friends and family — using tools like BBM,” he said. “That’s why it is a focus for us to improve upon what Indonesians really value about the BlackBerry.”
The service may well appeal to BlackBerry users, but a manufacturer-agnostic service offering similar services could supplant it pretty quickly.