Lenovo says business will focus on mobile Internet

Mar 12, 2010 By JOE McDONALD , AP Business Writer
In this file photo taken Thursday May 25, 2006, a Chinese model uses a mobile phone to control a robot made by Chinese computer maker Lenovo at a high-tech exhibition in Beijing, China. Lenovo Group expects wireless Internet products to account for up to 80 percent of its sales within five years as it pursues expansion in faster-growing emerging markets, CEO Yang Yuanqing said Friday, March 12, 2010. (AP Photo, File)

(AP) -- Lenovo Group expects wireless Internet products to account for up to 80 percent of its sales within five years as it pursues expansion in faster-growing emerging markets, CEO Yang Yuanqing said Friday.

Lenovo, the world's fourth-largest personal computer maker, jumped into the mobile in January with the unveiling of a smart phone and two Web-linked portable computers.

" is very important," Yang said in an interview. "Even today, notebook sales already are higher than desktops. Mobile Internet products are going to be 70 to 80 percent of our sales ... within three to five years."

Yang said Lenovo plans this year to focus on promoting mobile Internet and sales in emerging economies in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Lenovo, based in Beijing and Morrisville, North Carolina, was hit hard by the global crisis, which prompted its core corporate customers to slash spending. It suffered three losing quarters before rebounding to a profit in the second half of last year.

Yang said Lenovo's longer-term strategy, dubbed "protect and attack," calls for building up its dominant presence in China. The country accounts for nearly half of Lenovo's global sales but it faces competition from industry leaders Hewlett-Packard Co. and Inc., which are creating products tailored to Chinese customers.

In the latest quarter, Lenovo said sales in India and other emerging markets rose 52 percent over a year earlier, far ahead of the 13 percent sales growth reported for the United States and Western Europe.

Lenovo, which acquired IBM Corp.'s PC unit in 2005, says its global market share last year rose to 9 percent, its highest level to date.

Yang said Lenovo has no plans for foreign acquisitions but is ready to look at any deals that fit its strategic plans.

Corporate spending on computers has yet to rebound but companies are expected to step up purchasing in the second half of this year, Yang said. He said he could not foresee when global PC sales might recover to pre-crisis levels.

"I'm not an economist," he said. "Even for economists, it's difficult to forecast."

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