RIM is close to opening its first retail outlet in Dubai, as it plans to build its sales presence across the Middle East, as it continues to focus on international markets following efforts in India and Asia.

Bloomberg reports that the company is “in the final stages” of securing the lease for a 140 square meter space in a Dubai shopping mall, that’s according to Sandeep Saihgal, its managing director in the Middle East.

There are plans to further expand the retail outlets once the United Arab Emirates-based store is established, as Saihgal explains. “We’re getting the first one up and running and then we’ll be looking at other cities across the Middle East, [including] Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar.”

RIM isn’t just going it alone in the region, where it smartphones continue to hold off the growing threat of devices from Apple, which are increasing in popularity there. The Canada-based company, which is struggling in the US, is planning stores with local partner Axiom Telecom across the region.

The news comes after the company recently revealed that it is aiming to increase its focus across Southeast Asia, where it holds a prominent position in the growing smartphone market. The firm is increasing the number of BlackBerry sales points in Indonesia to 4,000, while it has “aggressive” plans for Thailand and Malaysia.

Already this year RIM has upped its push in India, where it is doubling the number of retail outlets selling BlackBerry smartphone, and it is now adopting a similar approach in other other parts of the world.

RIM’s global head of sales, Patrick Spence, says that plans for retail outlets will cover Africa, with flagship stores planned for Nairobi, Kenya, and Lagos, Nigeria.

RIM is placing more emphasis on the Middle East this year, after it announced the opening of its first development center in the region, aimed at encouraging the development of apps from local developers.

New CEO Thorsten Heins is determined to keep RIM among the top three mobile firms and a large part of his plan appears to be a focus on international markets, as the company continues to cater to demand outside of North America.