HP: R&D in China will help us remain PC top dog

R&D in China will help HP stave off competitors like Lenovo from stealing its crown as the top PC vendor in the world, according to HP's Anneliese Olson.

HP has been ingratiating itself more with the PC market in China after setting up research and development (R&D) operations within the country. The vendor is hoping that making products in China for the Chinese market will be enough to ward off competitors that are looking to seize HP's position as the number one PC vendor in the world.

In HP's second-quarter results in May , personal systems and printing sales dropped by 20 percent and 1 percent year on year, respectively.

While HP continues to be the biggest PC vendor in the world, Lenovo is rapidly catching up, ready to nab the top position. It helps that Lenovo, a Chinese company, has a strong position in its home market, which will become the biggest market for PC sales in the near future.

To shore up its top dog position in the PC space, HP has doubled its efforts to woo Chinese customers. Many developed countries, including Australia, are rapidly shifting to mobile devices and driving the waning demand for PCs; that is why HP is working so hard in China. On Tuesday, HP launched a range of consumer and business PCs and notebooks, some of which are made specifically for the Chinese market.

"If you look at desktops, notebooks, or tablets, there is no question there is a huge opportunity in China," HP printing and personal systems (PPS) computing solutions, accessories, and services vice president for Asia-Pacific, Anneliese Olson, said at the HP World Tour event in Beijing, China. "China is at the centre of what we are doing right now.

"In competing with the industry vendors out there, I think staying focused on what the customers are doing is really at the heart of what we are doing."

HP's China strategy can be summed up with the tagline that the vendor's CEO Meg Whitman touted at the event: "HP is in China for China". That means doing R&D in China, and having two product development centres for PCs and printers in the country.

"By putting in our China development centres and designing products in that market for customers, rather than designing them in Texas — that was a big step for us, and we started doing that about a year and a half ago," Olson said.

As the number one printer vendor in China, HP is also able to leverage its existing user base, such as those in government and the education sector, to push sales in PPS even further, she said.

"We also added 1,000 channel partners in China just in the last year," Olson said. "As we think about where the market is going and increasing investments in R&D and innovation, I think it makes a catapulting difference for us in the future in terms of how we serve our customers in not just China, but in the rest of the areas we play in."

With China being such an important part of HP's business strategy, the recent appointment of Dion Wiesler as the global head of HP's PPS division has been seen as a great decision within the organisation.

Wiesler was the COO for Lenovo's mobile and digital home groups prior to joining HP as PPS' Asia-Pacific and Japan vice president in 2012.

"It's exciting to have somebody that has experience around Asia-Pacific and having him go up at a worldwide level," Olson said. "I sit on Dion's staff, and it's an exciting time for us.

"With his background in the industry, it is a great fit for our business; we look at what we will be doing in the future."

Spandas Lui attended HP World Tour as a guest of HP.