Len­ovo Ukraine faces many chal­lenges, but its smart­phone busi­ness grows

Kyiv Post - - Business - BY I LYA TIMTCHENKO [email protected] Kyiv Post staff writer Ilya Timtchenko can be reached at [email protected] com.

Wei­jian Zhou, 33, has been Len­ovo Ukraine’s gen­eral man­ager since 2008 and plans to stay for an­other five years. The Ukrainian mar­ket has been a chal­lenge for him – but he doesn’t see much of a dif­fer­ence from any other coun­try.

De­val­u­a­tion of the hryv­nia, the de­creas­ing pur­chas­ing power and stiff com­pe­ti­tion are the three main stum­bling blocks Len­ovo Ukraine faces right now. But the chal­lenges are the same for ev­ery com­pany, Zhou said.

“The mar­ket is quite open and wide so you can get a very good re­sult in a very short term,” said Zhou cau­tion­ing that the open mar­ket does not al­ways work in one’s fa­vor be­cause of the strong com­pe­ti­tion.

GfK Ukraine, a mar­ket re­search firm, notes that the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions sec­tor made up 10 bil­lion hryv­nias, or $633 mil­lion, in 2014. Smart­phones make up the big­gest chunk.

Ac­cord­ing to IDC Ukraine, a tele­com- mu­ni­ca­tions and IT con­sult­ing firm, 4.2 mil­lion smart-phones were sold in Ukraine in 2014, com­pared to 2013’s 3.6 mil­lion. The growth, how­ever, did no­tot trans­late into mon­e­tary terms. In 2014 014 the smart-phone vol­ume was $76 mil­lion,il­lion, a 20 per­cent loss com­pared to $94 94 mil­lion in 2014.

Len­ovo’s share of Ukraine’s smart­phone hone mar­ket was 10.6 per­cent in 2013 013 giv­ing in only to two ma­jor com­peti­tors mpeti­tors – HTC and Sam­sung. In 2014 014 Len­ovo gained 23.3 per­cent tak­ing g over sec­ond place af­ter Sam­sung’s 27.2 7.2 per­cent.

But not all of the com­pany’s sec­torsc­tors per­formed as well ell last year. Len­ovo suf­feredf­fered a loss in 2014, 014, said Zhou. It faced ced a 50 per­cent de­crease ecrease in the com­puter mputer sec­tor r com­pared to 2013. The com­pany om­pany doesn’toesn’t providero­vide the fi­nan­cial de­tails of the Ukrainian mar­ket.

De­spite the loss, Ukraine is a very im­por­tant mar­ket even on the global level. “We are go­ing to fight for the share on this mar­ket.”

There is rea­son for Zhou’s am­bi­tions. The mar­ket share of Len­ovo in Ukraine is one of the big­gest mar­ket shares

Wei­jian Zhou

33 the global com­pany has, said Zhou. Ukraine’s enor­mous size of land and pop­u­la­tion makes the coun­try a tempt­ing bet and keeps Len­ovo in the mar­ket. “We re­ally h hope the sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine will be s sta­bi­lized in the near fu­ture.”

Ukraine’s 60-em 60-em­ployee of­fice is still only a minis­cule part of the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions gian gi­ant. Glob­ally, Len­ovo’s 2014 net revenu rev­enue was $38.7 bil­lion with about 54,00 54,000 em­ploy­ees. China Gen­eral man­ager of Len­ovo UkraineUkr­a How to suc­ceed in Ukraine: “There’s an old Chi­nese say­ing: if you com come to a new coun­try, you should f fol­low their rules. I came here – I try to be­have as the lo­cal peo­ple. If you want to be suc suc­cess­ful in busi­ness, ev­ery for­eig for­eigner in this coun­try should be­hav be­have like the lo­cal peo­ple.”

For Zhou’s am­bi­tions to be re­al­ized there should be an en­hanc­ing busi­ness cli­mate. To achieve it, there should be a fair and trans­par­ent pol­icy for ev­ery com­pany.

A promis­ing busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment will only hap­pen with a peo­ple-ori­ented govern­ment. Any govern­ment must pay at­ten­tion to its peo­ple’s val­ues and hope in or­der to es­tab­lish a de­vel­oped econ­omy, added Zhou.

“I saw what hap­pened in Ukraine. I un­der­stand that peo­ple want to have some­thing changed in the society, to be­come more pow­er­ful as a coun­try.”

So far the ap­pro­pri­ate en­vi­ron­ment is not there. The gen­eral man­ager does not plan to ex­pand Len­ovo in Ukraine right now. “Just keep what we have; (We are) look­ing very care­fully at what hap­pens next.”

A Bei­jing na­tive, Zhou has two daugh­ters and lis­tens to Chi­nese pop mu­sic and Ukraine’s rock band Okean Elzy.

Age: Na­tion­al­ity: Job: (Volodymyr Petrov) Ukraine

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