BlackBerry chief Thorsten Heins confirms “record” Z10 sales for UK and Canada, as company exits Japan

BlackBerry chief executive Thorsten Heins has confirmed a “record” surge of sales for his company’s new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone in Canada and the UK, despite the company withdrawing from the Japanese market.

While not presenting any sales figures, Heins says in an interview with CIO that sales were as strong as predicted by some analysts.

“In Canada, yesterday was the best day ever for the first day of a launch of a new BlackBerry smartphone. In fact, it was more than 50% better than any other launch day in our history in Canada,” Heins says.

“In the UK, we have seen close to three times our best performance ever for the first week of sales for a BlackBerry smartphone.”

Earlier this week, SmartCompany reported Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu and Barclays analyst Jeff Kvaal issued the notes following initial retail checks that showed strong demand for the recently released smartphone, which is the first to be based on the BlackBerry 10 platform.

“We have grown more confident in the likely success of the BlackBerry 10 launch, supported by low channel inventories, strong operator support and material pent-up demand,” Ferragu said.

“Our recent store checks suggest that initial sales of the BlackBerry Z10 are off to a solid, if not healthy start in the UK,” Kvaal said.

“We believe BlackBerry’s Z10 is off to a better start than the Lumia 920. The solid initial demand is a positive step in our view, despite the number of challenges that remain.”

The analysts joined Jefferies analyst Peter Misek in noting strong sales for the new smartphone.

“We believe Carphone Warehouse is seeing widespread sell-outs while O2, Vodafone, Orange and EE are seeing robust demand,” Misek stated.

However, despite the strong launch in the UK and Canada, the smartphone maker has announced that consumers in Japan will miss out on its BlackBerry 10 devices.

Reuters reports that BlackBerry has announced it is leaving the Japanese market due to the cost of translating the BlackBerry 10 interface into Japanese and other localisation work.

While BlackBerry once commanded 5% of the Japanese market, its share has dwindled to just 0.3%, making localisation costs unviable.

As SmartCompany reported in January, Apple has established a strong lead in the Japanese smartphone market, according to new market research figures, despite sales of the iPad trailing the Google Nexus 7.

The smartphone market research figures, compiled by Kantar WorldCom, reveal that Apple’s iOS, used on the iPhone 5, was used on 66.2% of all smartphones sold in Japan during the 12 weeks ending December 23.

In contrast, Android shipped on 31.9% of smartphones, meaning that Apple shipped roughly two smartphones for every smartphone sold by every other vendor, including Samsung and Japanese electronics giant Sony, combined.

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