Lenovo: No mobiles outside of China, yet

The PC maker will for now focus on growing its brand globally with its desktops and notebooks, says CEO William Amelio.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Don't expect Lenovo-branded mobile phones outside of the Chinese PC giant's home turf yet, according to the company's head honcho William Amelio.

Speaking at an industry-sharing event held here Friday, Amelio admitted that Lenovo did "entertain some ideas" about making available its mobile phones beyond the Chinese market. However, he noted, the time was not ripe, even though Lenovo's mobile business has gained traction steadily within China.

"There are plenty of things on our plate right now--going global, for instance. [Taking our] mobile business [out of China] is not one of them," he said.

Amelio noted that data from a research group in Beijing showed that Lenovo's standing as a mobile phone player jumped from No. 12 to No. 4 within three years. Besides PCs and handhelds, Lenovo also manufactures servers.

Amelio said that the company will for now focus on melding the "best practices" of both the Chinese business model of Lenovo as well as the global relationship-selling model of IBM's PC business, which the former acquired in 2004.

Although the integration of Lenovo and IBM's PC division had largely gone well because of common values shared by the two companies, there were challenges, too, Amelio said.

As part of its global investments, the company "moved people around the globe to make sure we have effective knowledge transfer", he explained. Communication sometimes became an issue, especially when an employee had much to contribute, yet was not as proficient in English.

Still, the former Dell executive has managed to work some changes which, he believes, has benefited the company. For instance, making swift decisions.

Said Amelio: "One of the things we try to make our people do is make the call." It may lead to bad decisions, but it ultimately helps deliver faster decision-making, he pointed out.

Readying low-cost PCs
Although there are no plans to introduce mobile devices outside of China, yet, Amelio said that Lenovo is "brewing something in the background" with regard to low-cost PCs. However, he declined to reveal details.

Amelio added that Lenovo has already partnered Microsoft in its Flexgo program in India, where customers can purchase PCs at a much lower price and subscribe to a pay-per-use model.

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