updated 12:50 pm EDT, Sun August 21, 2011
Lenovo CEO sees iPad, iPhone too costly for China
Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing in an interview Sunday with the FT expected his company could outmaneuver Apple in China. He saw the iPad and iPhone as inherently limited in the country, where lower incomes often dictated lower prices. Lenovo was competing with similarly expensive phones and tablets, but it was also producing a $150 Android phone and an entry-level Android tablet that would reach customers Apple simply couldn't at the moment.
"With a $500 price you cannot go to the small cities, townships, low salary class, low income class," Yang said. "I don't want to say we want to significantly lower the price, rather our strategy is to provide more categories, to cover different market segments."
The executive also repeated a common assumption among non-iPad manufacturers that the tablet market had to automatically follow the same direction as the PC market, where the market pioneer's share went down as others came in. Unusually, Yang falsely claimed that IBM had created the PC market, ignoring systems like the Apple II or other home computers before IBM's 1981 arrival. "When IBM created the PC market there was just IBM, if you look at the PC industry now it is very diversified," he said. "I believe that will happen in tablets as well."
He wouldn't comment on whether or not Lenovo would buy HP's potentially spun-off PC business. The ThinkPad builder wanted to pass Dell and HP to become the world's largest computer company, but the existing performance was "strong."
The statements came even as Apple had already passed Lenovo for revenues in China, having managed $3.8 billion in the spring where Lenovo sat at just $2.8 billion. Lenovo's first Android tablet in shops, the IdeaPad K1, has also been getting poor initial reviews due to poor display quality and software flaws. So far, it doesn't plan to bring its Android phones to the US and has said it wants traction in its home country before going abroad.