Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Picture Lenovo founder and Chairman Liu Chuanzhi as Napoleon and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) led by Steve Jobs as China. Then remember this famous Napoleon quote:

"Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world."

That quote came to mind after a reading of a Financial Times interview this week with Lenovo’s Chuanzhi.

The headline:

“Lenovo: Apple is losing out in China”

The head man of Lenovo, which maintains its global headquarters in Morrisville but bases most of its operations in China where launched and dominates PC sales, took direct aim at Jobs.

“We are lucky that Steve Jobs has such a bad temper and doesn’t care about China,” Liu told the London newspaper. “If Apple were to spend the same effort on the Chinese consumer as we do, we would be in trouble.”

Lenovo already faces increasing competition in China from HP, Acer and Dell – the world’s No. 1, 2 and 3 PC manufacturers with Lenovo at No. 4.

China also is expected to soon become the world’s largest PC market, and Liu told the the FT’s Kathrin Hille in Beijing that he also expected his country to surpass the U.S. as a leader in technology innovation.

The Financial Times noted that Apple’s products are popular in China as they are worldwide, but in the land of the Great Wall Macs and iPhones are limited in availability. But Apple, responding to Liu’s comments, pointed out that the company is opening a new store in Shanghai and has plans for 25 retail stores.

Lenovo will butt heads with Apple on multiple fronts – PCs and laptops as well as
smartphones since it recently launched Lephone.

Liu obviously respects Jobs, calling him a “genius.”

“My theory is that a manager needs to be the string on which he puts one pearl after another,” Liu said. “But Jobs himself is a big pearl.”

Will Jobs and Apple awaken to the opportunity of China?

Read the full

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