The company lost its top spot to HP in 2017 and has lost two thirds of its stock value since it hit a 15-year high in 2015.
Lenovo is working to reclaim its place as the global PC market leader, however, and is following a comeback strategy which taps into existing industries and new markets.
MyBroadband spoke to Lenovo South Africa general manager Thibault Dousson about the company’s growth strategy and its position in the South African market, as detailed below.
Dousson said Lenovo is leveraging a “three-wave plan” to accelerate its growth and improve its position in the global market.
The first part of its plan is to maintain its competitive edge in both the PC and tablet markets.
“We need to continue being a good hardware manufacturing company,” said Dousson.
Lenovo plans to continue developing and manufacturing laptops, desktop PCs, and tablets which feature the newest components.
The company’s experience in the PC market is underlined by the way it handled its ThinkPad X1 Carbon recall, it said.
After a hardware fault was identified in certain X1 Carbon models, Lenovo issued a global recall and offered on-site repairs to affected customers.
Dousson said this process was easy to implement in South Africa, thanks to the amount of information available regarding product sales.
“The level of information we have on resellers and product sales allowed us to quickly deal with the recall,” he said.
“We were able to contact every affected customer and repair or replace the products.”
The second part of Lenovo’s comeback plan is to expand into other industries, as shown by its acquisition of Motorola’s smartphone business.
Lenovo’s Moto division resurrected the well-known brand and now offers a range of devices to markets across the world.
Dousson said Moto and other ventures are a key part of the company and will add growth capabilities going forward.
The third aspect of Lenovo’s plan is the development and integration of connected devices.
This focus ranges from IoT device design, to the development of data analytics systems – and is constantly evolving.
The South African market
Dousson said he enjoys working within African markets, due to the challenges presented by developing economies.
He said the market in South Africa is divided evenly and is more balanced than others – such as Namibia and Botswana.
“We have a nice balance between commercial and consumer business,” said Dousson.
“The commercial market is also split nicely between government, enterprise, and SME industries.”
This makes it easier for Lenovo to cater for the South African market and fall back on other market segments if a particular sector reduces spending.
Other African markets have proven more volatile, with Zimbabwe’s PC and hardware market collapsing entirely after becoming a buoyant and growing sector.
Dousson noted that political factors, market divisions, and economic growth must all be taken into account when outlining a strategy for any market.
“All markets require a different strategy, and you have to constantly evaluate them to select the right approach,” said Dousson.