China now allows BlackBerry sales on the Chinese mainland. Research In Motion, the Canadian creators of the BlackBerry, pursued the deal for eight years. Corporate customers in key Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou will lead the list, and more than 5,000 are pre-sold.

Chinese language mods for BlackBerries have been in place for more than two years in Hong Kong and Macau. Neighbor nations India and Japan already buy BlackBerries, so with CDMA 2000 1X data and GSM 900MHz cellular networks already deployed in China, the market should be well primed. The market’s considerable; there are more Chinese cell phone users then there are people in the United States.

However, China is also developing a homegrown digital system, TD-SCMA, likely with an eye to reaping the benefits of CDMA without paying Qualcomm’s significant royalty fees. New Chinese phones commonly ship with dual-network capability, as this iClone demonstrates.

Where the Chinese market goes, Chinese developers quickly follow, so it seems logical to expect BlackBerry clones soon. Nokia already licenses BlackBerry Connect capability in its 9300 and 9300i smartphones.

How long do you think it will take for Chinese smartphones to appear with BlackBerry Connect? Join the discussion.