Koh Kong Meng, Regional General Manager, ASEAN, Lenovo
Koh Kong Meng, Lenovo’s regional general manager of ASEAN, discusses some of the company’s growth strategies, in an interview with Anushkar Mohinani, at its recent Customer Experience Programme hosted in Japan.
What can you attribute Lenovo’s growth to?
We have been the fastest growing PC vendor for the last nine quarters. Right now we are in the number two position worldwide and we have overtaken two of our competitors in the last three quarters.
Our growth is attributed to not just our products but alignment of our strategy.
We have a global ‘attack’ and ‘protect’ strategy. For the ‘attack’ strategy, we look at emerging markets and the consumer business. We want to gain market share in these two areas rapidly.
The second is protecting our crown jewels, which is our business in China as well as our global relationship business, which are both doing very well.
Basically we have a good balance of protecting what we have and attacking opportunity and a large part of our growth can be attributed to this strategy.
How much has the popularity of mobile Internet devices influenced Lenovo’s strategy as a PC maker?
We still see a great deal of opportunity in the PC notebook business. According to IDC, the entire PC market grew last year. This year also saw double digit growth. Although PC growth is declining in mature markets, emerging markets like China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Russia are seeing high growth rates.
Having said that, we also see opportunity in the mobile Internet business. I would say it is still in its infant stages in terms of maturity of market and this presents opportunity for new players like us to come up with innovative products to address the market.
We look at the products through the ‘four screen’ categories:
The first screen is the traditional PC notebook, the second is the tablet, the third is the smartphone, and the fourth is smart TVs.
We see growth in all four segments. However, tablets and smartphones will grow faster and we want to create new and innovative products compared to our competitors. For example, the IdeaPad Yoga is a hybrid device which covers more that one category - it is a traditional notebook and a tablet. This will enable us to address a new market when we launch it.
What is Lenovo’s strategy for its Singapore market?
We look at the market from three segments: The consumer, the SMB and what we call the relationship business, which is essentially the enterprise. We look at the customers very differently according to these three segments and the way we sell our products to them differs.
For the consumer market, we sell to the end-users via retail stores - this is the cornerstone of our consumer strategy. For instance, we partner with large retailers like Challenger.
For the SMB, we partner with what we call value added resellers. They are system integrators whose main focus is the SMBs in Singapore.
For the enterprise market, we focus on the customers directly. We also partner with large system integrators, such as NCS, to service the bigger accounts.
What is Lenovo’s strategy and product roadmap now and in the coming months?
For the immediate future, we are focused on providing a seamless transition to customers to upgrade from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge, which will happen from April to May.
The second one is the Windows 8 transition, which is a pretty major transition expected to happen some time this year too. We have already started discussions on how we can work together to manage the move.
In terms of hardware, it’s going to be an exciting year as we are launching our first commercial ultrabook, the T430u. It will come out in the second half of this year. The notebook will redefine the ThinkPad in terms of its design and performance. It will be thin and light but also have a faster boot up time as well as stronger battery life.
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