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Lenovo: Apple is wasting its presence in China

updated 08:40 am EDT, Mon July 5, 2010

Lenovo says small Apple Chinese footprint a help

Apple's hesitance to fully commit to China is a big help to Lenovo, the latter's chairman Liu Chuanzhi said on Monday. He accused Apple's Steve Jobs of being fickle and willfully ignoring the mainland Chinese market in terms of reaching out to customers. The American company has strong demand for Macs and iPhones, but with just two Chinese retail stores, one iPhone carrier and a small number of third-party dealers, its much smaller footprint gives China-native Lenovo free rein.

"We are lucky that Steve Jobs has such a bad temper and doesn't care about China," Chuanzhi told the FT. "If Apple were to spend the same effort on the Chinese consumer as we do, we would be in trouble."

The executive was confident that his company's flagship Android phone, the LePhone, was doing well in China as it was much more tailored to the local audience. Although it has far fewer developers -- Chuanzhi estimates 1,000 versus Apple's 100,000 -- more of the content is "convenient" for the Chinese. Lenovo has a much wider retail presence as well.

Apple has also faced a problem with bootleg sales that are less common for Lenovo, as the official prices for a China-approved device are lower than one intercepted than ones in the gray or even black markets.

The Chinese market is predicted to eventually overtake the US as the most important, if not already, and Chuanzhi warned that Apple might have to adapt its launch strategies to cater to China. Lenovo's chairman nonetheless saw Jobs as exceptional and one of the few executives that can dominate leadership where most other companies need several talented executives to thrive.

"My theory is that a manager needs to be the string on which he puts one pearl after another," he noted. "But Jobs himself is a big pearl."

By Electronista Staff


  1. DanielSw

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2009


    Cheap rhetoric. . .

    . . . is tacitly complimentary of Apple products.

    Apple will expand into China in its own sweet time and in its own way.

    The iPhone 4 retina display alone will be a strong draw because of its superior dislplay of Chinese ideograms.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001


    No coincidence

    Apple needs a presence in China but not to much, so if they need to pull out like Google did it wouldn't cut to deep into profits. Apple can't have 100 stores there, China would have a death grip on the company.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    Apple is having a hard enough time keeping

    up with demand for the iPhone 4 with the countries that already have the iPhone. Why does Apple suddenly have a need to expand exponentially. Apple seems to be growing fast enough. Apple wants to keep the prices of iPhones high so I guess it'll just have to face the competition of cheaper smartphones on its own terms. If Lenovo is pleased with Apple's slow pace into China, then all the better for them. The LePhone probably is more suitable for the China audience than the iPhone 4. I personally think the China market is a bust for Apple. Maybe there are a lot of potential smartphone users in China, but from what I see of all those KIRFs floating around, I don't think the Chinese consumer is really in the market for the real deal Apple products.

  1. byRyan

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007



    wait - that last comment about the strings and the pearls... sounds like a mistranslated reference to anal beads to me. You have to be the string that slowly pulls out the large pearls, one by one.

    OK but before you get all offended and try to convince me I'm wrong - please know that I'm only kidding.

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