BlackBerry announced on Thursday that it has entered a long-term licensing agreement with TCL, which allows the Chinese electronics company to make and sell BlackBerry-branded mobile devices globally.
Under the agreement, the hardware made by TCL will be coupled with BlackBerry’s security software and service suite, according to the Canadian company.
“TCL Communication is the natural choice to license BlackBerry’s software and brand on a global scale,” said Ralph Pini, Chief Operating Officer of BlackBerry, hailing the Chinese company’s vast global reach and consumer access.
After years of trying to turn its smartphone business around, BlackBerry has largely ceded the global market to its rivals such as Apple and Samsung.
The company announced in September the decision to outsource its smartphone business. The new agreement allows TCL to design, make, sell and support BlackBerry-branded smartphones in all countries except India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
A deal signed in September between BlackBerry and Indonesia’s BB Merah Putih gave the latter the rights to manufacture and sell the devices in the Southeast Asian country, which is BlackBerry’s largest handset market.
Founded in 1981, TCL began as a manufacturer and seller of telephones and related equipment, but its business expanded into other areas in the 1990s. Today, the TCL employs more than 75,000 people in 80 countries.