BlackBerry CEO John Chen seeks growth in China, meets with Lenovo, Xiaomi and HTC

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has noted several times already that the next step in his plan for BlackBerry is to grow the company and one place where he sees opportunity, due to the demand for security, encryption and privacy is in China.

Attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit in Beijing, John Chen sat down with Xiaomi's CEO Lei Jun, and Lenovo's head Yang Yuanqing along with Cher Wang, chairwoman of Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC Corp. Speaking in an interview after the summit, Chen provided more information.

It does seem that a more efficient way is to have a good partner to be here," Chen said in the interview. "I'm here this time to look at what opportunities there may be. We have not really focused on this market. It's a huge market but it's a very highly competitive market too.

Fully aware of the rumors his comments might start, Chen was quick to note that he wasn't there looking for a sale of BlackBerry but instead exploring the opportunities for agreements on technology licensing, distribution or manufacturing. "I'm not looking to sell the company," Chen said. "I'm very much looking to operate the company as an independent company."

By Chen's estimates, out of the more than 40 million BlackBerry (Not sure where this number came from, in June it was around 72 million total) users out there, only a few hundred thousand units have hit China. As for the outcome of the discussions, Chen isn't saying nor is anyone else, understandably. But the BlackBerry CEO did note "it is "way early" to be looking for results from the talks in China".

"What I'm doing is to explore what is the right approach to the market given what we do well and I'm not shutting any doors," Chen said. "This market is not an easy one to get deals done quickly. It's going to take a while, but I'm interested."

Despite John Chen's cautionary comments, BBRY stock is on the rise today based on the information. With BlackBerry's investor day being held on November 13th, we're sure to hear more about the talks even if it's just Chen declining to comment further on them.