Lenovo Group Ltd’s (聯想) Yang Yuanqing (楊元慶) asked for patience as he tries to get China’s top PC maker growing once more, but for the first time publicly vowed to step down as chairman and chief executive officer if he does not deliver on a critical sales goal.
Yang, who helped grow Lenovo into the world’s largest PC maker, but also orchestrated the acquisitions of Motorola Inc and IBM Corp’s low-end server business, is now betting big on artificial intelligence.
He wants to plow US$1 billion over the next three to four years into research, joining a race with much larger rivals Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) and Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊) to crank out the next generation of “intelligent” devices.
Nearer term, he intends to transform the company’s online sales into an e-commerce juggernaut that can bring in 80 billion yuan (US$11.8 billion) of annual revenue within three years.
Yang told attendees at Lenovo World, the company’s annual showcase, that he hoped to do so through JD.com Inc (京東), China’s second-largest online retail service and Alibaba’s closest rival.
It is that final objective he intends to hit — or throw in the towel.
“I don’t want to step down. I’m confident we can achieve that. That’s not something worrying,” Yang said in an interview revealing a slew of prototype devices.
“Investors should have more patience. If you want to see the result, it will take time,” he said.
Yang is exploring other ways to rejuvenate its core business, including a tie-up with Fujitsu Ltd.
He said that both companies are working on some sort of a deal, without elaborating.
“It’s still in negotiation. If the deal’s fair, we want the deal,” he said.
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