Lenovo challenges global rivals with launch of notebooks

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 January, 2008, 12:00am

Mainland computer giant Lenovo Group is moving aggressively into the international consumer market with the launch yesterday of new flagship notebooks and desktop brands, putting close rivals Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer on notice.

Lenovo's new Intel processor-based IdeaPad and IdeaCentre multimedia computers will be offered initially throughout Asia (excluding Japan), the United States, France, Russia and South Africa, making them its first global products since taking over IBM's ThinkPad and ThinkCentre lines in 2005.

'Our ambition for [consumer] market leadership is certainly substantial,' said Craig Merrigan, the vice-president of worldwide consumer marketing at Lenovo. 'This is a major move for Lenovo since the group has been focused primarily on the commercial market outside China after acquiring IBM's personal computer division in 2005.'

Backed by a global advertising and marketing campaign, the Y510, U110 and Y710 notebooks and the K200, Q200 and Q800 desktop models will be the first systems sold by Lenovo under its international consumer market expansion.

Standard features on the new laptops include a stylish top cover, a frameless screen, facial-recognition login and Dolby home-theatre surround sound.

'We're now bringing Lenovo's expertise in design and engineering to consumers with our Idea-branded PCs,' said Liu Jun, Lenovo's senior vice-president and president of its Consumer Business Group.

Mr Merrigan said the company had created designs and features that measured up well against the best products in the market and that marketing would 'peak during the Beijing Summer Olympic Games'.

Lenovo, the world's third-largest personal computer supplier, created its Consumer Business Group last year to address the global market for consumer laptop and desktop systems, which represent more than 40 per cent of all personal computers sold worldwide, according to research firm International Data Corp (IDC).

The worldwide personal computer market is expected to grow an average of almost 10 per cent annually up to 2012. This market accounts for only 20 per cent of Lenovo's annual revenue.

'The new Idea-brand desktops and notebooks will strengthen the company's leadership position in its home market and help it penetrate the consumer markets outside the Asia-Pacific region,' said Kathy Sin, the research manager for personal systems at IDC Asia-Pacific.

HP, the world's No1 personal computer supplier, is the mainland's No2 personal computer supplier, growing 106 per cent year on year in the third quarter last year, according to IDC. Market leader Lenovo expanded just 31 per cent in the same quarter.

Dell, the second-largest personal computer supplier, is the No4 vendor on the mainland, where it achieved 34 per cent growth in the third quarter. With the aid of new retail partners, it plans to expand into 1,000 cities across the country.

Last year, Acer, the world's No2 home computer seller, beat Lenovo in acquiring European personal computer supplier Packard Bell.

'It is our goal to be positioned correctly in this market,' Mr Merrigan said, adding the notebooks and desktops start at US$799 and US$499.

Taking aim

Lenovo hopes to draw buyers from key rivals HP, Dell and Acer

Percentage of sales the worldwide PC market contributes to Lenovo's revenue: 20%