Lenovo Aims Higher in U.S.

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By Ian Sherr

 

LAS VEGAS—Lenovo Group Ltd. has only just started in the U.S.

The Chinese computer maker, which is known for its ThinkPad personal computers, is working its way toward the American consumer market with what it says is a thoughtful, if slow, approach that will culminate in the company’s first high-end PCs for U.S. buyers later this year.

“We have the best products in commercial space with the Think brand,” said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo’s chief executive, in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show here. He plans to rely on the popularity of his company’s well-regarded business computers to start selling the high-end PCs.

Lenovo’s growing focus on the U.S. market comes as it has begun to solidify its standing as the world’s top PC manufacturer. The company was relatively unknown in the Western countries before it purchased International Business Machines Corp.’s ThinkPad PC business nearly a decade ago. Its business has grown steadily since then, helping the company become the biggest PC manufacturer by some measures.

Now, Mr. Yang said, Lenovo has the scale and capital necessary to ramp up investments in the U.S. market. Last year, the company released the Yoga, a touch-screen PC whose hinge allows the screen and keyboard to be bent into various positions, such as from a standard clamshell laptop into a tablet, with the keyboard folded beneath the screen. This year, it unveiled the Horizon, a 27-inch touch-screen desktop whose stand can fold inward, allowing it to lie flat and be used like a touch-screen tablet.

With products like the Yoga, Lenovo has been able to grab more than 40% of the U.S. retail market of computers that cost at least $900 and run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 8. “We are making a lot of progress,” Mr. Yang said, adding that Lenovo has outgrown its competitors for the past couple of quarters.

 

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(Published January 10, 2013, in The Wall Street Journal.)