Lenovo Group switches on to smart TV

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2011, 12:00am


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Lenovo Group, the world's second-largest supplier of personal computers, plans to start its foray into the so-called 'smart TV' market on the mainland.

'It is our plan to roll out some products [in the market] within a year,' Lenovo chief financial officer Wong Wai-ming said yesterday. 'We're looking at this very seriously in terms of what other [strategic] relationships we can establish.'

He said the initiative would be part of the consumer strategy and expansion efforts under the company's Mobile Internet and Digital Home (MIDH) business unit, which was formed in January this year to oversee the creation of mobile phones, media tablets and smart televisions.

According to market research firm IHS iSuppli, smart televisions support internet access and interactive features. In contrast, the traditional TV model offers one-way broadcast transmissions that are viewed by a passive audience.

Wong described the smart TV as another device format that 'leverages PC technology', just as had been achieved in smartphones and media tablets. 'We're very bullish,' he said. 'This is a very large consumer market [segment]. That's why we set up MIDH to study what are the business opportunities here.'

In March, Hong Kong-listed Lenovo sparked increased speculation about its ambitions in the smart TV field after signing a strategic deal with Shanghai Oriental Media Group (SMG) and its Shanghai Radio & Television Station unit to co-operate in mobile internet video services.

'This agreement will marry the most innovative products from Lenovo with the best in mainstream Chinese cultural content from SMG. The mobile internet and digital home sector are keys to our future, and this partnership marks an important step toward our success in these fields,' Lenovo chief executive Yang Yuanqing said at that time.

As part of the deal, group subsidiary Lenovo (Beijing) and SMG's BesTV established a joint venture called Shiyun Network Tech. This venture will create what the partners claim as the mainland's first so-called cloud-computing platform for video services accessible across internet-linked televisions, personal computers, media tablets and smartphones.

Yang had pointed out that consumers were 'no longer satisfied with traditional television'. He also forecast a population of more than 10 million consumers on the mainland will use internet-linked televisions in the next two to three years.

Wong said Lenovo had the capability 'to dominate the [domestic] smart TV market because we are designing products for mainland consumers'. Its strategy of developing devices for the mainland before other markets was previously used for its first mobile phone and media tablet.

Shares of Lenovo, whose third-quarter net profit rose 88 per cent to US$143.92 million, were up 0.55 per cent at HK$5.53 yesterday.