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

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Good times at
Lenovo are triggering a massive building program for a new headquarters, but the complex is going to be built in Beijing, not Morrisville.

According to Chinese news media, Lenovo is building a “new global headquarters” at a “software park” in the Chinese capital.

And it’s huge – nearly 2.4 million square feet – in a new high-tech park housing hundreds of companies touted as Beijing’s “Cultural and Creative Industry Cluster.”

Sounds like a Great Wall or Forbidden City scale project – modern style.

What does this mean for Lenovo’s campus in Morrisville? “Morrisville is our executive headquarters,” said head of media relations Ray Gorman. (Not that Morrisville has been ignored in the growth surge. In May, Lenovo said it would add 50 jobs and hire contractors in North Carolina. The original two-building complex has grown to three.)

Lenovo, which bases most of its operations in China and does the majority of its business in the land where the country was born, has signed a contract calling for construction of the new complex at the so-called “Zpark” to begin in 2012. It will have a capacity for 10,000 employees when finished in 2016.

“On its completion in 2016, Lenovo Group will locate the operation and management and development departments of its global headquarters in the new park,” China Tech News reported. (Read more here.)

Lenovo’s chief financial officer said the new complex will help the company keep as well as attract employees.

Lenovo has over the past two years surged to No. 3 in global PC sales, trailing only HP and Dell, while reporting swelling profits. The company also has launchied smartphone and tablet products. It has acquired the largest PC maker in Germany and formed a joint venture in Japan to help fuel continued growth.

And executives have expressed ambitions to become the world’s No. 1 PC company. The gap between Dell and Lenovo is shrinking. HP’s scaling back of its PC focus will no doubt help Lenovo achieve that goal.

But Lenovo still faces challenges, such as a global market shifting away from PCs and laptops to tablets and smartphones. Plus, Apple has great appeal in China where its sales are surging toward tsunami levels.

If Lenovo’s strategy leads to global dominance, the key decisions will be made in Beijing.

By the way, other tenants at the park include IBM (NYSE: IBM), which sold its PC division to Lenovo when its management conceded defeat to its many rivals. From that deal, the Lenovo colossus has emerged.

If nothing else, Lenovo’s investment reaffirms the company’s commitment to being No. 1.

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