Report: Lenovo Chairman Eyeing Mobile Market, U.S. Investment

Comments made by the President of Chinese OEM Lenovo on Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland suggest the company may take a more aggressive stance toward the mobile PC market, and toward the possibility of investing in the U.S.

According to a report from Bloomberg on Thursday, Lenovo's Chairman and Co-Founder Liu Chuanzhi says the company is focused on developing its LePad and LePhone mobile PC devices in order to diversify and add revenue.

’We have an extreme focus on the innovation of LePad and LePhone because these products will dominate the future market,’ Liu told Bloomberg at the World Economic Forum. ’Anyone who loses this battle will be phased out from the history of this industry.’

Lenovo is currently the world's fourth largest PC seller, according to Gartner, while Apple's iPad and iPhone are the top selling tablet and smartphone in the global market respectively. Despite Apple's head start, Liu said he was confident that Lenovo could make its mark in the mobile space.

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’History has proved we are good at catching up with the market’s leaders,’ Liu said. ’Though Apple is winning a significant share in the Chinese market, it has not gained a clearly leading position yet. Our advantage is we know this market better.’

In May, Lenovo launched its LePhone in China, where Liu reportedly said Lenovo plans to offer the LePad in the first quarter of 2011. However, Lenovo has yet to announce a timetable for the release of the LePad tablet and LePhone handheld in North America.

Earlier this month Lenovo formed a new business unit, the Mobile Internet and Digital Home Business Group (MIDH), which is dedicated to mobile devices. Lenovo said MIDH will also be responsible for applications and services pertaining to cloud computing devices and digital equipment for the home entertainment space.

On the day of the group's formation, Lenovo also announced a shakeup in its leadership, with the appointment of Liu Jun, former senior vice-president and president of Lenovo’s Product Group, as president of Lenovo's new mobile business unit headquartered in Beijing, China. Meanwhile, Peter Hortensius, former head of Lenovo's Think Product Group, was promoted to replace Liu as president of the company's Product Group. Hortensius is based in the U.S.

Next: Lenovo To Invest In The U.S.

In an interview with CRN in July Lenovo President and COO Rory Read was asked about the LePhone device coming to North America, after the device made a positive impression with reviewers and audience following a demonstration at CES 2010. Read said Lenovo's immediate focus was on launching the phone in China. He said Lenovo would build on success in China before bringing its LePhone to emerging markets, and only then will the phone become available globally.

Nevertheless, based on separate comments Liu reportedly made this week in Davos, Lenovo may be eyeing the U.S. for investment, if not to expand its current consumer product offerings.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal , Liu said Lenovo is interested in expanding its investments in the U.S.. The comments were made in the context of a meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Liu, who is also the head of China's $300 billion fund Investment Corp., regarding Chinese investment in U.S. infrastructure.

"If it's complementary and good for both sides, why not?" Liu reportedly said. "These Chinese companies, when they go abroad, do so out of business necessity. I call this the evolution of Chinese business."

Liu said Chinese companies see many opportunities to invest in the U.S., fulfilling mutual interests of expanding Chinese businesses while creating jobs in the U.S.