Mainland technology giant Lenovo Group, which had two consecutive quarters of losses because of the economic slump, agreed yesterday to sponsor the computing network and system operations of Expo 2010 Shanghai.
At a ceremony in Shanghai, the world's fourth-largest supplier of personal computers signed up to deliver 10,000 pieces of hardware - including servers, laptops, desktop systems, printers and various peripheral equipment - for the international exposition.
That will comprise the information-technology backbone of the 184-day Expo, which will run from May 1 to October 31 next year.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Although deemed a major investment, Lenovo's Expo commitment pales in comparison with the company's global sponsorship deal for the Beijing Olympic Games, according to analyst Charles Guo of JP Morgan Securities.
'This time, Lenovo's spending will cost a lot less,' said Mr Guo.
As one of the top 12 worldwide sponsors for the Olympics last year, Lenovo supplied more than 30,000 pieces of equipment, including desktop and notebook computers, servers and monitors. The firm, which had exclusive marketing rights to use the Olympic brand on its products, also detailed more than 500 technicians to support the event.
Lenovo and other major firms reportedly shelled out about US$70 million each to be a top-tier Olympic sponsor. Millions more were invested on various Olympic-related events, such as the torch relay.
'With a concrete track record of supporting large-scale international events such as the Beijing 2008 Olympics, the Torino 2006 Winter Olympics, Formula 1 and the National Basketball Association, Lenovo is confident that we will be able to provide the Shanghai Expo with the support required to make it a success,' said Lenovo chief executive Yang Yuanqing.
The company will also manage the Expo's computing operations centre and maintenance operations. The event is expected to be the largest, most complex World Expo to date, with 239 exhibitors and an estimated 70 million visitors from around the world.
Mr Guo said: 'Sponsoring the World Expo is something that Lenovo has to do, as it tries to build up its domestic market share against very aggressive competitors, such as Acer, Hewlett-Packard and Dell.'
Shares of Lenovo dipped 1.75 per cent yesterday to close at HK$2.81.