AP, LTW

MORRISVILLE, N.C. – , the fourth-largest personal computer maker, reported its third straight quarterly profit Thursday on strong sales growth in China and a revival in demand from business customers.

Lenovo, which bases its international headquarters and employs more than 1,000 people in Morrisville, N.C., said profit for the three months ending March 31 was $13 million, or 0.14 U.S. cents per share, compared with a $264 million loss a year earlier. Sales rose 56 percent from the same quarter of 2009 to $4.3 billion. ()

The strong quarter capped an equally strong year for Lenovo. For fiscal 2009-2010 ending March 31, Lenovo said sales climbed more than 11 percent to $16.6 billion, and PC shipments soared 28 percent compared to the industry average of 10 percent.

“Last quarter, Lenovo was the fastest growing of the top five PC companies for the second consecutive quarter and our profits continued to improve,” said Lenovo Chief Executive Officer Yang Yuanqing.

“Moreover, we achieved our highest-ever global market share during the year. These results completed the turnaround from the 2008/09 fiscal year and clearly demonstrate that we have the right strategy in place and are effectively executing on it.

Lenovo, which bases most of its operations in China, ranks behind HP, Acer and Dell in global sales.

The company’s fortunes have turned over the past 18 months after Yang stepped down as chairman to take over as CEO and Liu Chuanzhi, one of the firm’s founders in China, returned to an active role as chairman.

Under their mandated changes, Lenovo has focused more on China as well as emerging markets while also introducing a host of new products ranging from inexpensive “netbooks” to high-end desktops and laptops for engineers and designers.

Lenovo also returned to the mobile device business, repurchasing a mobile phone subsidiary last year that it had sold off. Lenovo is rolling out its “Lephone” smartphone in China as part of a strategy to focus on mobile devices.

“Looking ahead, we will continue to implement our strategy, while closely monitoring the changes in the economic environment and industry trends,” Yang said. “We are committed to drive the development of our core PC business and grab the growth opportunities generated by mobile Internet arena.”

Lenovo was hit hard by the global economic crisis, which prompted its core corporate customers to slash purchases. The company suffered three losing quarters before rebounding to profit in the three months ending Sept. 30.

"While we have achieved much in the past 12 months, there are both significant challenges and tremendous opportunities ahead of us," Chuanzhi said in a statement.

In its home Chinese market, sales rose 67 percent over a year earlier to $2 billion. Sales of consumer products, an area targeted for expansion, soared by 90 percent over a year earlier.

Growth in North America, Europe and other mature markets was helped by a recovery in commercial sales that boosted PC shipments by 37 percent over a year earlier.

In India, Latin America and other emerging markets, PC shipments rose 95 percent from a year earlier.

Lenovo, which acquired IBM Corp.’s PC unit in 2005, is expanding aggressively in mobile Internet after launching its first smart phone and two Web-linked portable computers in January. Yang said in February that Internet products should account for up to 80 percent of Lenovo’s sales within five years.

Get the latest news alerts: at Twitter.