Lenovo aims to pass HP as Europe No 1

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 September, 2013, 5:05am

Lenovo Group, the biggest maker of personal computers, is pushing to overtake Hewlett-Packard for the lead in Europe by 2015, even as it expands in tablets and smartphones.

Lenovo sees "significant" potential to expand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to Gianfranco Lanci, the Chinese company's president for those markets.

"We want to become number one within the next 18 months - let's say by the beginning of 2015," Lanci said at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin. "There are very big growth opportunities in PCs in the whole region and there's still room to grow."

While Hewlett-Packard held its lead in the region in the second quarter with 18 per cent of market share, it has lost ground as Lenovo has been gaining, Gartner data shows. Lenovo accounted for 12 per cent of shipments for the period, surpassing Acer.

To reach the top spot, Lenovo is introducing new laptops as well as combination devices that convert from notebooks to tablets. It introduced three ThinkPad laptops this week that are thinner and lighter than previous models and a collection of "multimode" devices designed for business and home users.

Lenovo is branching out beyond PCs as well. It unveiled a "premium" device for its smartphone line-up on Thursday in Berlin in a challenge to market leaders Samsung Electronics and Apple. The Vibe X has a 5-inch display and runs Google's Android 4.2 system. It will go on sale in China next month and will expand outside the country from December, the company said.

"We plan to enter Europe by mid-next year" with the device, Lanci said. The price will be at the high end of Lenovo's range of smartphones outside China - €149 (HK$1,520) to €499.

Lenovo rose to become the second-largest smartphone vendor in China and the fourth-largest globally with inexpensive handsets. Now it plans to go upmarket with devices that can pose a more direct threat to Samsung's Galaxy S4 or Apple's iPhone. Lenovo released its flagship K900 in May, and the Vibe X expands that "premium smartphone portfolio", the company said.

To keep up with its growth plans, Lenovo was "open to acquisitions if they make financial sense from a geographic and product perspective", Lanci said. Still, "we don't really rely on acquisitions to grow; we can grow organically".