China's Lenovo heads to the Olympics

China's top computer maker, the Lenovo Group, has sealed an exclusive sponsorship deal for the Olympic Games.

China's top computer maker, the Lenovo Group, has sealed an exclusive sponsorship deal for the Olympic Games.

Under the arrangement labeled The Olympic Partner (TOP) program, Lenovo will provide computer equipment for the Winter Olympics to be held in Turin, Italy, in 2006 and the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

The Beijing-based firm will sponsor equipment such as desktops, laptops, servers and printers. In addition, it will provide funding and technical support for both events, the company said.

In return for its participation, Lenovo stands to receive exclusive perks such as the ability to use the intellectual property of the Olympic Games, which typically include the official logo and mascot, for its own marketing efforts.

According to Mary Ma, Lenovo's chief financial officer, the company has not firmed up its overseas marketing strategies. However, she said the firm has already set up sales and marketing units in Italy, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Lenovo has long enjoyed pole position in China's booming PC market. It is currently Asia's top PC maker, thanks to thriving demand in the country. Hoping to go beyond local shores, the firm has unveiled ambitious plans for international expansion and the new Olympics sponsorship coup could aid its new quest.

Last year, the company changed its moniker from Legend to Lenovo for overseas markets as the former name has been registered by a number of firms outside China.

Ma previously said she hopes to quadruple Lenovo's overseas sales to 20 percent of its annual revenue in five years, from less than 5 percent today.

Apart from Lenovo, other partners in the TOP program include Coca-Cola, Atos Origin, General Electric, John Hancock, Kodak, McDonalds, Panasonic, Samsung, Swatch and Visa.

ZDNet China's Wang Dan reported from Beijing. CNETAsia's Winston Chai contributed to this report.