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Lenovo founder moves to steady Taiwan ties

The China Post news staff--The founder of Lenovo said yesterday that cross-strait cooperation is possible for his firm, but he declined to comment on his China-based computer company's controversial employment of a former top executive from its major Taiwan-based rival Acer.

Liu Chuanzhi, chairman of Legend Holdings that controls Lenovo, said there will be opportunities for cooperation with Taiwan-based firms but his group may not run major operations on the island because of the size of the market.

It is most likely that both sides would joint forces for the markets in China and other parts of the world, Liu told a forum in Taipei.

Taiwan and China businesses can complement one another in many ways, but both sides must understand and trust each other, he said.

He added that Lenovo has had many cooperation and acquisition projects in China, and all of them have been conducted after the sides understood each other.

But Lenovo's most famous acquisition did not take place in China. In 2004, the company, under Liu's leadership, surprised the high-tech industry by acquiring IBM's personal computer (PC) business.

Since then, Lenovo has gone on to become the world's number two PC vendor. Recent restructuring has seen Liu take up the leadership of Legend Holdings.

One of its major rivals is the Taiwan-based Acer, whose former Chief Executive Officer Gianfranco Lanci last year joined Lenovo as an adviser.

After his speech at the forum, the press asked Liu for comment on Lanci's employment.

But Liu said that he was not involved in the decision made by the Lenovo chairman and its board of directors. He declined to make further comments on Lanci.

The departure of Lanci, who was credited with Acer's success in the European market, was a surprise. And soon after his defection to Lenovo, Acer filed a lawsuit against him, accusing him of violating his contract.

The strained relationships between Acer on the one side and Lenovo and Lanci on the other raised more eyebrows last month when the Taiwan firm disclosed that it paid its ex-CEO a record sum of about US$40 million in compensation for his departure.

Meanwhile, Acer, one of the best known brands of Taiwan, is inviting students all over the world to contribute ideas of environmental innovations for the high-tech industry in a contest offering total prize money of NT$10 million.

Any students can enter the “Incredible Green Contest” individually or in groups, suggesting ways for the industry's development, said Acer founder Stan Shih.

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