Lenovo Group Ltd., the world’s second-largest computer maker, says sales to first-time buyers in emerging markets including Brazil and India will drive growth that’s faster than the industry average.
“We believe that we will grow at a significant premium to market, as we have done before,” Milko Van Duijl, Lenovo’s president for the Asia-Pacific and Latin America, said in an interview Thursday in Hong Kong.
Global computer shipments will rise 5 percent in 2012, “a challenging year” because of the debt crisis in the euro- area economy, researcher IDC forecast this month. Lenovo sold more computers to businesses in the U.S. and emerging markets last year, defying a slump that hurt industry sales, including those at bigger rival Hewlett-Packard Co.
“The goal is indeed realistic given Lenovo’s exposure to the fast growing PC market in the emerging economies such as India, Brazil and Russia,” said Jiong Shao, head of China strategy at Macquarie Securities Ltd in Hong Kong. “Lenovo management has been executing well over the last couple of years and the company has outgrown the overall PC market for several quarters in a row.” He rates the shares outperform, the equivalent of buy.
The computer maker rose 0.5 percent in Hong Kong trading. The shares have gained 27 percent this year, compared with a 4 percent advance in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.
[Lenovo operates its executive headquarters in Morrisville, N.C. The company recently expanded its distribution center in the Triad, citing continuing growth. It also is acquiring additional office space in Morrisville.]
Lenovo dropped the most in more than two years June 21 after a report in the China Times said the company had told suppliers that shipments would be slower than expected.
Van Duijl today repeated Lenovo’s June 21 response that the company hasn’t issued suppliers any new guidance.
“We never issued a statement that we would come off our numbers,” Van Duijl said today. “We quickly came out with a corrective statement. We did not issue anything. We believe in the growth.”
Lenovo got 16 percent of its $21.6 billion in total sales from emerging markets last year, 42 percent from mature markets including the U.S. and Europe and 42 percent from China, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Next year, computer shipments will gain 8.1 percent to 413.6 million units, from the 382.6 million units estimated for this year, IDC forecasts. In emerging markets, computer shipments will gain 7.4 percent this year and 9.1 percent next year, IDC forecasts.
Lenovo has “tremendous growth” opportunities in emerging markets such as Brazil and the rest of Latin America, where there are still many first-time computer buyers, Van Duijl said. He didn’t offer any specific forecast for computer shipments in today’s interview.
Lenovo will be “maniacally” focused on growth in Brazil and is looking at all options for growth including both “organic and inorganic,” Van Duijl said
“There are troubles, problems in Europe, we all see that,” Van Duijl said. “In Europe we now have double-digit market share, yet it’s only a very small portion of our revenue. There is a lot of opportunity ahead of us. Even if the market doesn’t grow fast, we will grow.”
[LENOVO ARCHIVE: Check out six years of Lenovo stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]