Will RIM's BlackBerry do better than Apple's iPhone in China?

Research in Motion (RIMM) sealed a distribution deal for its BlackBerry in China in a partnership with Legend, the owner of Lenovo, on December 7. A day later, the handset company said it had another distribution deal with China Mobile (CHL), the largest cellular carrier in China. The new initiative will be aimed at consumers and small businesses. Bigger companies have been offering BlackBerries for two years.

There is reason to curb enthusiasm about the RIM announcement, even though China has over 600 million cellular subscribers, more than twice as many as there are in the US. And market penetration is low enough in the nation of almost 1.4 million people that the cellular phone business is still a growth industry.