Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) and Research In Motion (RIM) have expanded their partnership with the signing of a strategic agreement for the distribution of BlackBerry smartphones in China.

The first smartphone offered to Chinese enterprise customers through this agreement will be the 8700 model. The announcement coincides with the first shipment of smartphones to distribution networks in China and availability for Chinese enterprise customers in key markets is expected to begin later this year.

Alcatel-Lucent achieved certification of the 8700 model for the Chinese market through partnership with TCL Communications, a major mobile device manufacturer in China that holds the Alcatel brand for mobile handsets. RIM and TCL Communications are showcasing BlackBerry smartphones at the PT EXPO COMM CHINA 2007 show in Beijing this week.

RIM says it continues to expand its global distribution and the BlackBerry is now available from over 300 carriers around the world.

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