At the recently concluded IFA 2016 in Berlin, Lenovo showcased a slew of new products, including the new YogaBook, which relies entirely on a touch-based Halo Keyboard along with the new Moto Z Play and a camera Mod by legendary camera maker Hassleblad.
For Lenovo, India has emerged as an important marketplace and the company is now the third-largest smartphone vendor, according to the latest IDC numbers.
“In just Asia Pacific, the importance of India is much more apparent. The population is almost the same as China, there’s a younger generation. Even the GDP growth is ahead of China, one of the strongest among the world, which is good to see. So India is definitely one of our most strategic markets, not just from the Asia-Pacific perspective but also for the whole company,” said Ken Wong, senior vice president and president for APAC region, Lenovo in an interaction with IndianExpress.com at the IFA event.
Wong said the initiatives of the Indian government such as Make in India and Digital India were steps in the right direction. “We’re very happy to see initiatives like Digital India from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is a massive effort for a country of that size, and we are seeing fibre-link all over, which is an important infrastructural need for companies like us,” added Wong.
Talking about the Indian market, he said a notable difference is that many of the customers in India are coming online for the first time and that too, via smartphones.
“We are seeing a lot of first-time demand coming out of India as well. Some of these guys have never been exposed to even notebooks, perhaps have only used a phone or a tablet. I tend to believe they want something different from, say, those in the big cities,” he pointed out.
Wong is confident that products like YogaBook, which comes in both Android and Windows 10 version, and has a Halo-keyboard that appears only when needed by a user, will do well in India. “Our belief is that the market is moving towards more premium products, regardless of whether it is an emerging market or a more mature market,” he said.
On the PC market, Wong admitted demand was shrinking but there was scope to grow, especially with 2-in-1s and innovative products. “I think markets are moving from more general purpose devices to a more scenario based, very set use-case. When I say that, I mean gaming, 2-in-one, thin and light. All these machines are more scenario based, and perfectly fit the needs of some of our customers,” said Wong.
The Lenovo vice-president also said that it’s not just the PC market which is seeing negative growth. Even smartphone growth is slowing down worldwide, he said, adding that innovation is what will stand out here as well.
Lenovo’s Moto Z Play with innovative Mods would be a game-changer in this segment, he stressed. “We think this is a equivalent to the software ecosystem that Apple and Google created. This is a hardware ecosystem concept with the Moto Z Mods,” he pointed out. In India, Lenovo’s strategy will be to be a disruptor, and provide clear value-adds.
“There is a lot of work for us to do in order to create that demand, educate the bigger India market about these. We have done that before, we know how to create a market for new products,” said Wong.
The correspondent was in Berlin on the invitation of Lenovo India