Lexmark is not the first printer company to target the mainland market but Liming Zhao, the company's new North Asia president, does not believe its entry is untimely. 'I always look at the positive in everything,' he said. 'We can learn from [our competitors'] lessons.' Mr Zhao oversees Lexmark's recently formed North Asia operations which are based in Hong Kong and also cover China, Taiwan and South Korea. 'We wanted to be closer to the customers, closer to the market,' he said. The mainland would be a 'critical market for us', because it was growing rapidly and had been unaffected relatively by the regional downturn. China also holds personal interest for Mr Zhao, who was born in Beijing but went to the United States 15 years ago to work and study. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from universities in China, an MBA from Northeastern University in Boston, and a doctorate in management from Case Western University in Cleveland. 'That's part of the Chinese culture, to get more education,' he said with a laugh. Mr Zhao joined Lexmark in 1996, working at its main headquarters in Kentucky where he was director of business development for Asia. He was drawn to the company because 'I wanted to combine my engineering background with business'. 'Lexmark is a very young company and growing very fast. It's very exciting.' The company has only a 2.8 per cent share of the regional market, according to Dataquest figures, but it does not intend to follow the lead of its rivals and offer scanners and digital cameras. 'We don't want to compete across the board,' Mr Zhao said. 'Lexmark only has printers. But, on the other hand, Lexmark is the only one that is 100 per cent dedicated to printers.'