Prepped for the future
Keeping the momentum strong with Lenovo.
In 2016, Lenovo was ranked the number one PC vendor in terms of unit shipments* in the world. According to the same report by Gartner, the company managed to ship close to 16,000 units, which is a rather impressive feat, considering the PC market has been experiencing a downward trend – in terms of sales – in recent years. We spoke to Ken Wong, President of Asia Pacific, Lenovo; Ivan Cheung, Regional General Manager, Lenovo Central Asia Pacific Region; and Khoo Hung Chuan, Country General Manager for Lenovo Malaysia and Singapore, on how Lenovo plans to continue this momentum.
What have been the key factors to Lenovo’s success thus far?
When you look at IT vendors, I believe Lenovo is the only one with a full range of products, including desktop and notebook PCs, tablets, smartphones and datacenter infrastructure options. We’re also expanding into the smart home, augmented reality and virtual reality markets. In short, there’s something for everyone.
Looking forward, what is Lenovo’s strategy to retain the top spot?
We’ll be focusing on making Lenovo a customer-centric company. The concept itself is simple, but the result is highly impactful. Essentially, we need to focus on what our customers want and need, and create services and products based on those needs.
Can you provide us with some examples as to how Lenovo plans to become more customer-centric?
First, we have set up dedicated resources for our datacenter business, where we’ve focused a lot of manpower, from R&D all the way to our sales force, and from worldwide teams to countrywide teams. The purpose of setting up these teams is to be able to communicate better with our customers.
Second, which I believe is more relevant to this part of the world, is gaming. We are the number one gaming systems vendor in Thailand and always the top two in Malaysia, in terms of units sold. Similar to our datacenter business, there’s a dedicated team on the worldwide level, all the way down to a countrywide level. We’ve also rebranded our gaming products with the ‘Legion’ branding as part of this effort.
In terms of products, how does Lenovo differentiate itself from the competition?
It all boils down to innovation. The market demand for PCs is facing a downward trend and will continue to do so because it’s boring. If you subscribe to this idea, the only thing to do is to innovate – create interesting form factors, create products with interesting function and features that can reignite the desire to buy our products. And we’ve done this. We introduced products like the YOGA Book and Moto Mods, among other things. We’re actually spending US$1.2 billion on R&D alone.
Speaking of R&D, what is Lenovo currently focused on?
Our Chairman and CEO has channeled 20 to 30 percent of the US$1.2 billion to explore artificial intelligence. In fact, we’ve just appointed a new Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Rui Yong, an individual who is wellknown in the research of AI.
Apart from AI, what are the other segments that Lenovo is focused on?
There’s the gaming segment, which is one of the fastest growing segment in the PC market. There’s also the commercial segment, especially in locations like Japan. Apart from that, there’s the 2-in-1, as well as thin-and-light segments.
What is the next step of evolution for the PC?
I think we need to think about the role of a PC. We believe it will be multipurpose, and has the ability to interact with other devices. For example, it has to be able to interact with the Smart Home Assistant that we just introduced. In a nutshell, a PC will need to be able to meet one’s requirements in different scenarios and can’t just be a single-function device.
Are there any new services or products that you’re excited to unveil this year?
We’re launching our new business partner portal, which is highly automated and intelligent, to make it easier for our business partners to communicate with us. Part of this program also consists of a revised incentive program, which should prove to be exciting, and this is actually happening within the next couple of months, not only in Malaysia, but worldwide. In addition, we’ll be focusing on enhancing our customer support, like building a gaming community for our Legion brand, and offer better response times when attending to queries or problems.
Speaking of customer support, we’re also launching new services, like the Premier Support Service, where you pay just a little more for an additional level of support and after-sales service.
(From left to right) Khoo Hung Chuan, Country Manager for Lenovo Malaysia and Singapore; Ken Wong, President of Asia Pacific, Lenovo; and Ivan Cheung, Regional General Manager, Lenovo Central Asia Pacific Region.