Lenovo Ukraine faces many challenges, but its smartphone business grows
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
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