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Lenovo eyes US mobility market

Reporter: Mark Niu 丨 CCTV.com

03-20-2015 04:08 BJT

Computer maker Lenovo has been a Chinese success story: it is now the world’s largest PC maker, and it is moving aggressively into both the enterprise and mobility space. 

It has been ten years since Lenovo made the bold move of acquiring IBM’s personal computer business.

Tim Bajarin was on IBM’s analyst council at the time and traveled to Beijing to see what the deal was all about.

"I’ll be honest: at the time, I struggled with it. There were a lot of questions regarding a Chinese company buying this, basically, historic company. After the trip to Beijing, and meeting with their CEO, CFO, and even some government officials, I came back pretty much convinced, if anyone can do this, it’s gonna be Lenovo," said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies.

Lenovo went on to establish a US headquarters in Morrisville, North Carolina.

Seven years later, it unseated HP as the world’s number one PC maker.

Lenovo entered the global smartphone market in 2012, but chose to stay out of the US market. It waited patiently until 2014, when it struck a deal to acquire Motorola Mobility from Google. 

"We will focus on the Motorola brand in the US markets. The importance is the US is a tough market; brand perception is extremely important, from all the research data, and again, Motorola has an iconic brand," said Gerry Smith, executive vice president of Lenovo.

With Motorola and Lenovo both producing smartphones, Smith is not worried about cannibalizing each other’s business.

"We’re one family; I mean, there’s different divisions, but just as a family that shares information, we do the same things within Lenovo. A little bit of competition between different parts of the company is healthy. The key is: Are we satisfying all customer needs?" said Smith.

That now includes more customers in the enterprise world, too, as just months ago Lenovo acquired IBM’s x86 sever business.

"To be honest, it’s almost repeating the playbook on PCs. We bought a second division from IBM. 9:13 When we just have Lenovo products, we have only entry level towers and racks; now we have, from top to bottom, to the data center to the cloud, to the small and medium business, we have full coverage," Smith said.

"What I’ve been impressed with at least over the last five years is how aggressive the Lenovo management in Beijing is. Ten years in, they are probably stronger and more powerful, in the context of what their role is in computers and communications, with their smartphones etc., than they’ve ever been," said Bajarin.

Bajarin now watches closely to find out if Lenovo’s marketing power and distribution channels can achieve what even Google failed to do: make Motorola a top player in the US mobile market again. 

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