RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Big news continues to happen at Lenovo.

The world’s third largest computer manufacturer is scheduled to announce its quarterly earnings on Thursday. And Reuters is forecasting good news, based on a survey of analysts.

In the United Kingdom, meanwhile, the high-profile Williams Formula One racing team unveils its 2007 season stable of cars, drivers and sponsors this week. Lenovo is rumored to be one of them – at around $40 million a year.

Locally, Lenovo staff is moving into the first of three new headquarters buildings at a campus being built in Morrisville. Lenovo’s international headquarters will be in the Triangle where most of the former IBM PC division it purchased in 2005 had been located.

And to top matters, Lenovo Chief Executive Officer William Amelio will be in Raleigh on Thursday as the leadoff speaker at the annual Emerging Issues Forum put on by North Carolina State University and former Governor Jim Hunt. The forum’s topic is the importance of education to North Carolina’s future. But a lot of people will be listening for what Amelio has to say about Lenovo.

A longtime IBM executive before going to Dell and then being lured to take over Lenovo shortly after the purchase of IBM’s PC unit closed, Amelio lives in Singapore. He spends much of his time traveling the world, so the Triangle is not a place where he spends much time.

He does have much on his plate. Lenovo trails Dell and HP in worldwide PC production. Its market share in the United States isn’t among the leading vendors as tracked by analyst firm Gartner. And HP and Dell are making concerted efforts to increase sales in Lenovo-s home territory – China.

Amelio is fighting back aggressively.

In an interview at the World Economic Forum last week in Switzerland, Amelio told Bloomberg News that Lenovo plans to be a bigger player in the U.S. market.

"You’ll see us getting into consumer business," he said. "We’ve demonstrated success in China and India, and there’s no question we should have the same success in other developed markets."

As for the Formula One sponsorship, Amelio declined comment. But if Lenovo is part of the Williams tea, it will displace HP and will gain significant worldwide exposure given the popularity of the motor sports (imagine NASCAR on steroids).

Bigger news in the short run could be the earnings report, though. Reuters forecast earnings of $57.9 million for the last quarter of 2006, a 24 percent increase from the previous year.