Lenovo cell phones to launch in Middle East

LENOVO, the Chinese PC manufacturing giant is set to launch a range of mobile phone handsets in the Middle East next year, Arabian Business can reveal.

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By  Rhys Jones Published  October 2, 2005

LENOVO, the Chinese PC manufacturing giant is set to launch a range of mobile phone handsets in the Middle East next year, Arabian Business can reveal. The Beijing-based company’s cell phone division, Lenovo Mobile, has grown aggressively in recent years to become one of China’s biggest domestic phone-makers. The group is currently in the midst of an all out assault on consumer markets as part of its wider global expansion. “Consumer products such as handsets will be launched in the region after we have targeted the small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and released more consumer PCs next year,” Yang Yuanqing, chairman, Lenovo, told Arabian Business. “It won’t be too long before we will introduce handsets into the Middle East market and you will see more activity from us on this front in the coming year,” he added. Lenovo Mobile, which is a joint venture between Lenovo Group and Xiamen Overseas Chinese Electronic, is currently China’s second domestic handset player with a market share of 3.9%, behind Ningbo Bird with 6.4%. It was set up in 2002 and has partnership deals with the likes of Spansion Flash Memory and Fujitsu. “We will follow a step-by-step strategy so we can leverage our channel and product strengths to expand in this area,” explained Yuanqing. “The handheld products are a separate division within Lenovo where we are among the top positions in China,” he added. Like other PC makers, Lenovo is looking beyond making just personal computers. Yuanqing has previously hinted that the company might expand its product offerings in other markets. “We’ve made it very clear that it is our intention to sell Lenovo products previously available only in China worldwide and to sell consumer products worldwide. We plan to make more innovative technologies available to more customers, both in established and emerging markets, and although we have not announced our timetable for that, you will begin to see more activity from Lenovo on these fronts in 2006,” a company statement said. These expansion plans come on the back of the group’s recent purchase of IBM’s PC division, a move which has led to the company targeting emerging markets and the Middle East. “Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is my number one focus area — this is a key area when you look at new segments,” said Milko van Duijl, general manager EMEA, Lenovo. “We understand how to develop emerging markets thanks to our experiences in China so we know how to repeat this success in other emerging markets and the Middle East is one of our focus areas,” he added. Lenovo’s third quarter results for 2004-2005 put turnover at US$823 million, down 3.7% compared with US$845 million for the same period last year. Net profits were up just 0.6% to US$42 million, compared with the US$41 million during the same period last year. In March, the company announced its intention to list its stock on the New York Stock Exchange.

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