Rahul Agar­wal, MD & CEO, Len­ovo India, talks about his or­gan­i­sa­tion’s per­for­mance in 2018-2019

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What is your view of the per­for­mance so far, of the In­dian ICT in­dus­try in 2019? Over­all, the ICT in­dus­try has been wit­ness­ing healthy growth in the last few years, driven by grow­ing tech­nol­ogy adop­tion by in­di­vid­u­als and en­ter­prises, es­pe­cially gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions. Within ICT, PC in­dus­try has ex­pe­ri­enced a mar­ginal de­cline of ~2% YoY, mainly due to soft­ness in the Con­sumer Seg­ment. How­ever, Com­mer­cial seg­ment of the PC in­dus­try still wit­nessed 4-5% growth YoY.

While the over­all mar­ket de­clined marginally in terms of vol­ume, it has demon­strated healthy growth in value terms. This is mainly due to growth in pre­mium prod­uct cat­e­gories, driven by emerg­ing form fac­tors like Ul­traslim PC, Gam­ing etc. Over­all, the Pre­mium PC cat­e­gory in Con­sumer seg­ment grew by over 26% last year, open­ing up op­por­tu­ni­ties for PC com­pa­nies.

What is your view on FY 19 in terms of busi­ness and fi­nan­cial per­for­mance? Can you share any two key highlights?

Len­ovo has had a good FY19 with a 21.3% share in the PC mar­ket (i.e., 4.2% gain in the last two years). Fur­ther, we have con­sol­i­dated our lead­er­ship in Tablets with 37.5% share! We have seen many highlights in the year, but the two most im­por­tant highlights are: • We have grown faster than the mar­ket and our key com­peti­tors, thereby lead­ing to steady mar­ket share gain. This is no easy feat in a mar­ket that’s flat and ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive. Our share gain is pos­si­ble through our ra­zor-sharp fo­cus on prod­uct in­no­va­tion and cus­tomer cen­tric­ity • Bag­ging the Tamil Nadu gov­ern­ment deal (ELCOT) to sup­ply 1.56mn lap­tops to col­lege stu­dents. This is the largest deal ever in the his­tory of PC in­dus­try glob­ally and it gives us im­mense pride to part­ner with the govt. on an im­por­tant devel­op­men­tal project

What is the way ahead in an en­vi­ron­ment of de­clin­ing mar­gins, softer IT spending and tighter out­sourc­ing, and GDPR regime, in the tra­di­tional ver­ti­calsseg­ments?

As high­lighted ear­lier, while the mar­ket is stag­nant, cer­tain cat­e­gories within PC in­dus­try (e.g., Pre­mium, Gam­ing, Ul­tra Slim etc.) are wit­ness­ing rapid growth. Hence, it im­por­tant for com­pa­nies to con­stantly in­no­vate and launch prod­ucts

that suit the de­mands of the new-age con­sumer, to grow at healthy pace.

Ad­di­tion­ally, cus­tomers will in­creas­ingly seek con­ve­nience and value. Hence, it is im­por­tant for com­pa­nies to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves and pro­vide endto-end so­lu­tions to cus­tomers, as op­posed to pro­vid­ing hard­ware or ser­vices alone.

At Len­ovo, we are striv­ing to stay ahead of the mar­ket by dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing our­selves and in­no­vat­ing across multiple di­men­sions. We have re­cently launched “made to order” fea­ture on Len­ovo.com, wherein con­sumers can cus­tom build their own PC, suit­ing their re­quire­ments. On the re­tail front, we have ramped up Off­line to On­line (O2O) ini­tia­tive, through which con­sumers can seam­lessly shop across our off­line and on­line re­tail for­mats. What is your busi­ness out­look for FY 20 and what are the key fo­cus ar­eas? We had a very strong first quar­ter this year – We emerged as a strong #1 in both PC and Tablets, with a record 46.2% share in PC and 45% share in Tablets. With such a solid We emerged as a strong #1 in both PC and Tablets, with a record 46.2% share in PC and 45% share in Tablets. With such a solid start to the year, FY1920 looks promis­ing for Len­ovo and as we exit the year, we want to fur­ther con­sol­i­date our po­si­tion in the tra­di­tional PC & Tablet in­dus­try start to the year, FY1920 looks promis­ing for Len­ovo and as we exit the year, we want to fur­ther con­sol­i­date our po­si­tion in the tra­di­tional PC & Tablet in­dus­try, while mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant progress in our smart-de­vices (both smart home and smart office) seg­ment.

On the prod­uct side, we will con­tinue to push the en­ve­lope on in­no­va­tion – we have an ex­cit­ing line-up of PCs and smart de­vices (smart dis­play, smart clock, smart bulb, etc.) for the year and have al­ready launched our flag­ship prod­uct S940, AI-pow­ered smart PC. Fur­ther, we will also fo­cus on ex­pand­ing our dis­tri­bu­tion net­work and en­hanc­ing re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence, through Len­ovo Ex­clu­sive Stores.

In­ter­nally, we have em­barked on cul­ture jour­ney, with fo­cus on cus­tomer-cen­tric­ity. We are cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment where we keep cus­tomer at the cen­ter of ev­ery­thing we do and also re­ward in­di­vid­u­als who demon­strate ex­em­plary com­mit­ment to cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence.

To sum it up, with prod­uct in­no­va­tion, right ex­e­cu­tion fo­cus and cus­tomer-cen­tric­ity, we are sure to con­tinue our growth tra­jec­tory and emerge even stronger in FY1920.

Ac­cord­ing to you, what is the in­flu­ence of emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies in the next cou­ple of years? How is Len­ovo pre­par­ing it­self for this shift?

Need­less to say, tech­nol­ogy will play an ev­er­in­creas­ing role in our day-to-day lives. In the next cou­ple of years, there will be close to 4 bil­lion con­nected peo­ple! And to­gether, they will ac­cess 25mil­lion+ apps and gen­er­ate / con­sume 50 tril­lion worth of data.

This is set to fun­da­men­tally change the value chain of ev­ery in­dus­try and of­fers huge growth op­por­tu­ni­ties. At Len­ovo, we are pre­par­ing our­selves for this shift through our fo­cus on ‘In­tel­li­gent Trans­for­ma­tion’. As part of our ‘In­tel­li­gent Trans­for­ma­tion’, we are driv­ing 3S strat­egy i.e., Smart IoT (smart de­vices), Smart In­fra­struc­ture (stor­age and pro­cess­ing ca­pa­bil­ties) and Smart Ver­ti­cals (end-toend so­lu­tions lever­ag­ing the power of Big Data gen­er­ated and pro­cessed from Smart IoT and Smart In­fras­tuc­ture).

The fu­ture will pro­vide ex­cit­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties for all of us and we are ex­cited to shape the fu­ture with our cut­tingedge tech­nol­ogy port­fo­lio.

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