left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Lenovo's ThinkPad to target high-end, mainstream markets

Updated: 2012-08-07 13:47
By Tuo Yannan ( China Daily)

Seven years after acquiring the US-based IBM Corp's personal-computer business, Lenovo Group Ltd released its latest ThinkPad X1Carbon and announced it will concentrate solely on high-end and mainstream markets.

Lenovo has since become the second-largest PC maker globally and introduced a 1.36 kg carbon-fiber ultrathin ThinkPad notebook on Monday.

This year marked the 20th for the ThinkPad, after the first IBM portable PC was made by that company in Japan in 1984.

When the first 13.6 kg bricklike box was invented, Chen Xudong, senior president of Lenovo and president of Lenovo China, had just graduated from college.

Now, this brand's product commands about one-third of the company's laptop sales in China.

When the Chinese company bought the ThinkPad brand in 2005, Naitoh Arimasa, vice-president of Lenovo in charge of ThinkPad notebooks, research and development in Japan, received many questions from his old business partners, such as, "Can a Chinese company carry on this business after the acquisition?" and "Will Lenovo change ThinkPad products?"

Naitoh, known as "the father of the ThinkPad", told his clients, "Don't worry, ThinkPad's philosophy won't change." Now the company doesn't hear those questions anymore, he said at ThinkPad's 20th-anniversary ceremony on Monday.

Wei Jianglei, vice-president and chief marketing officer of Lenovo China, said that wile IBM never sold ThinkPad products in retail stores, Lenovo has.

"It is a trend that the lines between commercial and consumer products is getting blurry," Wei said.

Chen said Lenovo will mainly try to sell ThinkPad products in high-end and mainstream markets.

The company's consumer product lines such as ideaPad laptops already use the technology from ThinkPad lab.

However, the ideaPad product line has not been as successful as the ThinkPad.

Another difficulty for the consumer laptop industry is the growing use of smartphones and tablet PCs, he added.

Dilip Bhatia, vice-president of Lenovo Group and general manager of the Lenovo Global Business Department, said smartphones and tablet PCs are affecting the notebook market.

Tablets and smartphones continued to take market share from PCs, whose sales remained flat during the second quarter of 2012, according to the US-based research company Gartner Inc.

Consumers are spending less on laptops and desktops but more on mobile Internet devices, Mikako Kitagawa, Gartner analyst, said in a statement.

"People want lighter, thinner and faster laptops, and in the future, laptops will have more touch, talk and gestures functions to fit customers' needs," Bhatia said.