Lenovo bets on app projects to boost sales

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 November, 2010, 12:00am

Lenovo Group is betting on its aggressive mobile application initiatives to bolster the domestic adoption and planned international launch of its smartphone and media tablet.

'We're very confident that our mobile internet devices will win in China because we know the market very well and we're establishing a much closer relationship with software application developers,' Wong Wai-ming, the chief financial officer at Lenovo, said yesterday.

'The key when we launch these devices outside the mainland is to have the relevant applications that provide enhanced user experience.'

It is a strategy that apparently emulates what Apple has accomplished with its online 'Apps Store', which currently has more than 300,000 applications available for download to users of its popular iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices.

Lenovo, the world's fourth-largest supplier of personal computers, recently made an initial 100 million yuan (HK$116.59 million) investment in a fund that provides seed money to mainland software developers who build programs for the company's Chinese online mobile applications store, 'LeGarden'.

That followed the company's co-operation with SK Telecom, the biggest mobile network operator in South Korea, to bring select applications from its 'T Store' to the mainland.

LeGarden, which Lenovo launched in May, has more than 1,000 programs available for download to users of 'LePhone', which has become the mainland's No 1 domestic-brand smartphone based on strong sales to 3G subscribers of China Unicom and China Telecom Corp.

It will also provide mobile applications for the new 'LePad' media tablet, which will be released on the mainland by the first quarter of next year and in select overseas markets soon after.

According to a JP Morgan report, the global market for media tablets will see high growth in the next two years as 'more brands replicate the success of Apple's iPad'. It forecast global media tablet sales to reach 36 million units next year and 66 million units in 2012.

'We want to work with more developers to get the best user experience for our mobile internet devices,' Wong said. He said recruiting application developers for the LePhone and LePad is made easier by having these devices run on a so-called 'open platform', which is the Google-developed Android operating system.

At present, LeGarden counts 2,774 individual developers and 542 developer companies.