NQ Mobile focuses on N. America for growth in mobile security

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BARCELONA, Spain--NQ Mobile is building on deals with U.S. Cellular (NYSE:USM) and premium retailers for Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) as well as with other Western operators as it expands its mobile security business beyond China.

In an interview with FierceMobileContent here at the Mobile World Congress trade show, NQ Mobile Co-CEO Omar Khan said that the company now generates 54 percent of its consumer business from outside of China. He said the company has spent the past several months focused on business development in Western Europe and North America. 

In February U.S. Cellular said it will offer NQ Mobile's Family Guardian product under the name "U.S. Cellular Family Protector powered by NQ Mobile" to its 5.9 million customers. The product, $34.99 annually, provides a host of security features so that parents can keep track of and protect their kids' mobile devices. The features include the ability to see and manage contacts and text messages, filter websites, manage application access, prohibit certain apps from being used, and turn functions on and off based on time or location.

The Family Guardian product is also being sold at Diamond Wireless and 4G Wireless, authorized Verizon dealers that have more than 210 and 120 locations, respectively. The Guardian product is one of NQ's premier consumer products, but Khan said that NQ's enterprise mobility business is actually growing strongly as well, and now makes up 17 percent of the company's total business.

NQ recently launched a mobile device management solution called NQSky. The product integrates mobile devices with existing enterprise IT policies and also uses the capabilities of NQ's core Mobile Security antivirus and security app. Gavin Kim, NQ's chief product officer, said the solution essentially "maps PC security directly to mobile. It's addressing a process and framework that IT managers all use." Though NQ's enterprise business is primarily focused on Asia, Khan said that NQ is working with the Global Enterprise Mobility Alliance, or GEMA, to expand its business in Western markets.

All of this is combining in to make NQ bullish on its prospects. The company had $40.7 million in revenue in 2011, had projected $90 million to $91 million for 2012 (it reports fourth-quarter and full-year results March 6) and is projecting $170 million to $180 million in revenue for 2013. Khan said the company has thrived by getting its products sold through retail locations when people buy their phones; NQ products are sold at 1,600 U.S. retail locations and 3,000 worldwide.

Though Lookout Mobile and AVG offer competing mobile solutions, Khan said NQ's real competition is the likes of Kaspersky, McAfee and Symantec, though he argued their technology does not port well from a PC environment to mobile.

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