Fri, Apr 06, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Lenovo to launch unit targeting small firms, individuals

AP , BEIJING

Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) plans to launch a global unit to promote sales to individuals and small businesses, a company spokesman said yesterday, as the company tries to establish itself as an international competitor.

The unit will be headed temporarily by Lenovo chairman Yang Yuanqing (楊元慶), spokesman Jay Chen said.

Lenovo, the world's No. 3 PC maker, said in its last financial report in February that sales in North America had fallen by 4 percent as a result of intense competition.

HOME MARKET

Executives acknowledged that the company, which bought IBM Corp's personal computer unit in 2005, had yet to become a major competitor outside its home Chinese market.

The new unit is meant to expand use of Lenovo's sales model serving individual buyers and small businesses, as opposed to big, long-term corporate clients, Chen said.

Chen said he had no details of either when the unit would begin operations or how it would function.

"It is being prepared but we don't know yet when it will be announced," Chen said.

The sales model had been used successfully in test markets in Germany and India, Chen said.

PROGRESS

Lenovo has reported progress in streamlining the integration of the IBM PC unit with its other businesses.

It says profits for the quarter ending in December rose 23 percent to US$57.7 million on sales of US$4 billion, driven by a 17 percent rise in shipments in its home market.

The company said its share of the global PC market rose marginally to 7.4 percent.

But Lenovo said it was losing money in the Americas amid falling revenues.

Lenovo announced a US$100 million restructuring plan in March last year that eliminated about 1,000 jobs from a work force of 20,000.

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