Lenovo boss bows out on high note

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 November, 2011, 12:00am

Lenovo Group founder Liu Chuanzhi yesterday relinquished his role as chairman of the mainland computer giant after it announced a record increase in earnings and global market share in the quarter to September.

Liu, who returned as chairman in February 2009 to help the company during the economic downturn, will now focus most of his efforts on Lenovo parent firm Legend Holdings, which has targeted a public listing between 2014 and 2016.

Yang Yuanqing will assume the dual role of chairman and chief executive. He previously served as Lenovo chairman from 2005 to 2009.

'I have confidence that Lenovo's strong global culture of commitment and ownership is now firmly in place,' said Liu, who founded the company in 1984. 'Lenovo not only has great momentum in the PC market, but has successfully entered the mobile internet [device] space.'

This momentum was evident in Lenovo's fiscal second quarter, which ended in September, when its net profit jumped 88 per cent to US$143.92 million, up from US$76.59 million a year earlier, on the back of key acquisitions and strong sales in both the mature and emerging markets. Earnings beat an average profit forecast of US$118.3 million from eight analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue grew 36 per cent to a new quarterly sales record of US$7.8 billion from US$5.7 billion the previous year.

Lenovo passed Dell last quarter to become the world's second-largest supplier of personal computers with a 13.7 per cent global market share, according to separate preliminary estimates by market research firms Gartner and International Data Corp (IDC).

The company had earlier unseated Taiwanese rival Acer Group as the industry's third-biggest personal computer supplier in the quarter to June.

IDC said Lenovo's partnership with NEC in Japan and the acquisition of German firm Medion in Europe added incremental volume and provided new access to those large markets.

Hong Kong-listed Lenovo, which acquired the personal computer division of International Business Machines in May 2005, also boosted its market-leading position on the mainland with a 31.5 per cent share in the quarter to September. China has surpassed the US to become the world's biggest market for PCs.

Lenovo's recently formed Mobile Internet Digital Home business unit, which covers mobile phone and media tablets, also performed well last quarter in the highly competitive market segment.

Looking forward to greater holiday sales this year, Yang said Lenovo had become the mainland's No2 media tablet brand with an 8.4 per cent share, behind Apple's market-leading iPad.

'The company has overachieved its targets,' Liu said.

Laptop computers continued to be the top contributor to Lenovo sales worldwide, generating 57.5 per cent of total revenue last quarter.

Lenovo's share price was up 4.87 per cent to close at HK$5.60 in trading yesterday.


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