Now things will change, says Lenovo’s EMEA boss

The message from Lenovo immediately after its acquisition of IBM's PC division earlier this year was that “nothing will change”. That's no longer the case...

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By  Matthew Wade Published  September 28, 2005

According to Milko Van Duijl, general manager of Lenovo Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the time for regrouping is over. “Things are changing,” he says. “We're heavily investing in growing our Middle East business and the market in general, in fact we intend to grow faster than the market itself, partly by looking into new countries such as Iran. We're currently investigating the legal situation to see how we might expand there.” Unlike IBM, Van Duijl says Lenovo can and will truly grow the PC market - in this region and around the world - because for one, the company very much has the will and secondly, there are no competing business units in-house. “Lenovo is a huge, dedicated PC company. Systems are our bread and butter,” explains Van Duijl. “Therefore we don't have any competing businesses within our company. The Financial Times newspaper recently suggested that Lenovo will be one of the key Chinese global players and that's right. We're directly interested in growing our PC market share; an interest that IBM never really had.” With the purchase of the IBM PC business, Lenovo acquired full rights to the firm's ‘Think’ brand, and thus its product launches between now and next year will all be Think branded. Customers will have to wait a little while longer to get their hands on distinct Lenovo branded kit. Van Duijl explains: “Since Lenovo acquired IBM's PC business we've already launched Thinkpad branded products, including the Thinkpad tablet and our biometric fingerprint reader. Next month we'll launch more, led by our Z series - the first wide-screen Thinkpad ever, which will be available in traditional Thinkpad black titanium, and in pearl silver. “We'll also unveil our entry-level, desktop E-series. Our first Lenovo-branded products will then be launched between February and April next year, to tie in with the Winter Olympics, for which we're one of seven key sponsors.” As Van Duijl explains to the Gitex Times, these first Lenovo-branded products will be targeted squarely at the SMB market, which in the Middle East is now very buoyant. “How it works is that our Lenovo branded products, which feature trendy designs, iPod-like colouring and are available in various form factors, are SMB aimed, while our Think range of products is directed at the high-end - the enterprise space,” says Van Duijl. In fact, the SMB market in the Middle East is already a key one for Lenovo. “50% of our business is coming through our SMB channel in the Middle East, compared to around just 35% in Europe,” Van Duijl claims. Since the IBM acquisition, Lenovo has been making particular headway in the education sphere, says Van Duijl. “We've really been progressing in this space, working closely in Dubai for instance with the men's and women's colleges, and Zayed University.” Van Duijl also points to some big recent ‘wins’ in both the region’s banking and petroleum industries.

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