Lenovo to boost brand recognition
By Wang Xing, China Daily/Asia News Network Monday, July 18, 2011, 9:40 pm TWN
BEIJING--The Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group said it plans to significantly boost its brand recognition in the world's major markets in the coming years, as part of its efforts to develop into a consumer-based technology company.
In an interview on July 15, David Roman, Lenovo's chief marketing officer, told China Daily that the company plans to become one of the top three PC brands in most key markets across the world in the next few years.
"In many of the countries, Lenovo really has a limited presence, because we have often focused on corporate, rather than commercial, business," said Roman, a former senior executive at Hewlett-Packard.
He said that in most countries outside China, Lenovo is only probably one of the top six or seven brands in local PC markets, but that "we have to be the top three everywhere."
In order to achieve that goal, Lenovo launched a large marketing campaign in May to promote itself in the global market, signaling the company's biggest marketing investment since its sponsorship of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
The campaign, which is mainly aimed at the youth market, will last for at least two to three years, according to the company.
Roman said on Friday that as Lenovo is trying to shift its focus towards consumer products such as tablet computers, cell phones and home digital entertainment products, it is "crucial" for the company to have a strong consumer brand. He said Lenovo wants become the "Nike" of the PC industry.
Lenovo became a global PC vendor in 2004 when it acquired IBM Corp.'s PC division. However, its overseas business has long focused on the corporate customers that it acquired from IBM. That over-reliance on corporate business saw Lenovo suffer during the global financial crisis.
After a program of company restructuring and as the world economy recovers, Lenovo will gradually return to profit and witness rapid growth as it accelerates the opening of more stores and recruits more sales partners worldwide.
Earlier this year, the company announced two major acquisitions in Japan and Europe.
Lenovo also overtook Acer Group to become the third-largest vendor of personal computers globally, with a market share of 12.2 percent in the second quarter of this year, according to figures from the research firm IDC.
"Branding is not an advantage for Lenovo in competing with rivals in the global market, so sooner or later the company needs to build its brand in the global market," said Antonio Wang, an analyst at IDC.
He said that if Lenovo can establish a strong global brand, it will bring more pressure to bear on rivals such as HP and Dell Inc.
Sales in China accounted for 46.4 percent, or US$10 billion, of the company's global revenue in 2010, while other emerging markets contributed 17.9 percent, according to Lenovo.
Sales in the United States, Europe and other mature markets accounted for 35.7 percent of the total, the company said.
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