Another step in the continuing evolution of Lenovo as a company takes place today in the Triad – but it involves personal computers, not smartphones.
Lenovo remains primarily focused on its PC business, which represents virtually all its revenues (90 percent), and the No. 2 global PC manufacturer today dedicates its first manufacturing line in the U.S. However, the ceremony is overshadowed by talk that the company is looking for a smartphone deal with a senior executive saying Lenovo is talking with “multiple parties.”
At its massive 240,000 square foot distribution center in Whitsett this morning, Lenovo will host N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory and other officials to launch the PC manufacturing line. In January, Lenovo, which operates its executive headquarters in Morrisville, announced it was bringing PC building jobs to the U.S. and promised to add 115 jobs.
And more jobs could be coming.
“The fact is, we are growing in North Carolina,” Jay Parker, head of North American operations for Lenovo, told WRALTechWire in an interview. “We believe there is a possibility of more jobs in the future.”
The manufacturing and the bigger distribution as well as services operations are part of Lenovo’s worldwide effort to put services closer to customers in order to customize and deliver products faster.
Lenovo did recently lay off a “small number” of workers and contractors in Morrisville. Parker noted the moves were part of Lenovo’s continuing efforts to adjust to changes in the PC market as well as shifts in demand by consumers and businesses for more tablets as well as smartphones.
As part of Chairman and and CEO Yang Yuanqing’s “PC Plus” strategy, Lenovo continues to embrace PCs and tablets, continuing to launch new models. But the firm also is moving aggressively into smartphones, tablets and other Internet connected devices as it tries to diversify its revenue streams in a market where PC sales are falling.
Lenovo is expanding smartphone sales around the globe, its latest “K” device being heavily promoted by Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. The company hopes to triple smartphone sales this year to some 60 million, and Yang recently told The Wall Street Journal that Lenovo could enter the U.S. market as soon as last year.
Talks in recent weeks has swirled that Lenovo is looking to form a joint venture with another firm with smartphone expertise to help drive sales. Among the rumored partners is BlackBerry, which has a research and development operation in the Triangle, and NEC. Lenovo already works with NEC as part of a joint PC venture in Japan.
Milko van Duijl, head of Asian-Pacific operations for Lenovo, told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that Lenovo is talking with “multiple parties” about a deal.
Earlier, Lenovo informed the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that joint venture talks were underway.
“We are in talks with many people. The reason why we are very active is that this industry is moving fast,” Milko van Duijl said in an interview. “Tablets and smartphones are where the biggest growth is, particularly in emerging markets.”
Lenovo executives are scheduled to wrap up a road show in London today as they seek to raise money through the sale of bonds.
As part of the PC Plus strategy, Lenovo is ramping up efforts to sell servers. Its joint venture with EMC has been formally launched, and media reports have speculated that Lenovo has talked with IBM about buying all or part of Big Blue’s server business.
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