Lenovo readies mega India push: $45 bn Chinese firm looks to replicate PC business success in smartphone arena

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New Delhi | August 13, 2018 2:46 AM

India is a key market in Lenovo’s efforts to become a new-age firm of the Internet era, as the $45-billion Chinese PC and smart devices firm looks to replicate the success of its PC business in the smartphone segment.

lenovo, lenovo india, motorola(L-R) Sumir Bhatia, President, Asia Pacific, Data Centre Group; Rahul Agarwal, MD & CEO, Lenovo India; Yang Yuanqing, Chairman & CEO, Lenovo; Ken Wong, President, PCSD, Asia Pacific, Senior Vice President, Lenovo Group; Shashank Sharma, ED and Asia Pacific Leader, Lenovo Mobile Business Group and Motorola.

Agile decision-making skills, an optimistic outlook and an ability to learn from the past—a CEO must possess these certain traits to become a great leader. Yang Yuanqing, the chairman and CEO Lenovo has them all. The top boss (often referred to as YY) at the $43-billion Chinese PC and smart devices firm is firm in his belief that India is the go-to-market for the company’s future growth. “India is among Lenovo’s leading markets that include countries such as China, the US, Japan and Brazil. The Indian market will spur a new wave of growth for Lenovo in the coming years. We are optimistic that our India business will expand to $5-6 billion over the next few years, driven by growth across PC, smartphone and data centre verticals,” he said at a round table conference in Bengaluru early this month.

It isn’t just India where Lenovo is reworking its strategy, it is reiventing itself as it aims to become a new-age firm of the Internet era. “From mostly making hardware to a combination of hardware and software services—from wearables and smartphones to tablets, PCs, servers and software and cloud services, we are diversifying in smart connected devices while maintaining a strong PC and server focus. We want to build Lenovo as the most innovative company in the world,” the Lenovo CEO said.

Rahul Agarwal, managing director & CEO, Lenovo India, believes that the company’s ecosystem of devices and services supports that gameplan. Agarwal, who is a veteran at Lenovo/IBM and has held senior leadership positions within Lenovo, has been pursuing an aggressive strategy to capture a major share of the new-age mobility devices market comprising smartphones, tablets and convertibles.
“India is one of the largest smartphone markets globally. We are growing at a healthy rate in the smartphone space and expect our growth trajectory to continue with the introduction of newer models.,” said Shashank Sharma, executive director and Asia Pacific leader, Lenovo Mobile Business Group and Motorola. “We have redesigned our products specifically for the Indian market. In the next few months, we intend to have a high profile launch of some of our smartphones under the Lenovo and Motorola brands in different price categories. We plan to have close to 1,000 Motorola branded stores (Moto hubs) across the country, up from the current 700.”

Interestingly, Lenovo is pursuing a dual brand strategy in India—operating both Lenovo and Motorola brands. Lenovo is focused on technology and price while Motorola has a strong focus on innovation and new technology experiences. “This has given us the flexibility to offer a combination of premium, mainstream and affordable devices,” said Sharma.

Agarwal said that the dual brand strategy has worked in Lenovo’s favour “by helping us maintain our separate identities. In the next two-three years, we will have a similar kind of success for our smartphone business like we had in the PC (personal computer) business.” He affirmed that Lenovo will unveil more affordable devices here. According to IDC, the current market share of Lenovo for PC and smart devices is 22.5%, while for tablets it stands at 29.3%. The data centre group stands at 4.7% and the Motorola market share stands at 6%.

Lenovo is looking at a focused sales and marketing strategy to take on competition, especially from Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, OnePlus, Vivo and Oppo. “We can position Motorola in the offline space as a premium brand in India. And Lenovo in the online market space, positioning it more as an entry-level and mainstream brand. Now we have a clear branding strategy for both the products and a much stronger product portfolio targeted mainly towards the Indian consumer,” said Yuanqing, adding, “Our objective is to be the leading provider of smart devices in this smart Internet era.”

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