Lenovo gets ready for big India push

Lenovo Group Ltd. is readying itself for a big push in the Indian market by creating a geographical division within the company that will focus exclusively on India, the company said Friday. The announcement is part of several steps being taken by the company to more tightly integrate its international and Chinese operations.

India is going to be an important focus for Lenovo in the months and years ahead, said Helen Lau, an analyst at Sun Hung Kai Investment Services in Hong Kong.

At present, Lenovo’s operations are broken down into four geographical regions: the Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); Asia-Pacific, which includes Australia and New Zealand; and China. India will become the company’s fifth geographical region effective on Jan. 1, 2006, Lenovo said.

Lenovo India will be headed by Ravi Marwaha, who is currently the company’s worldwide head of sales. Marwaha will report to Stephen Ward, Lenovo’s chief executive officer, and will also oversee the company’s global business partner operation, Lenovo said.

Since its acquisition of IBM Corp.’s PC group, Lenovo has increasingly eyed opportunities in India, where the company believes it can successfully replicate its success in China’s fast-growing PC market.

Its efforts in the country have already shown positive results, Lau said. “From the first quarter, Lenovo’s shipments growth in India has been very good,” she said.

According to market analyst company IDC India Ltd. of Gurgaon, India, PC sales in the second quarter topped 1 million in India for the first time. Total PC sales by units were up 31 percent from the same quarter last year, with sales of notebook computers posting a whopping growth of 138 percent, according to IDC India.

Hewlett-Packard Co. was the market leader in the Indian PC market in the second quarter, followed by HCL Infosystems Ltd., a PC vendor based in Noida, India, the analyst company announced last month. Lenovo moved to the third position, taking the position IBM held in the Indian market for the previous four quarters.

In the year to March 31, 2005, annual sales of PCs in India were 3.64 million, according to IDC India.

The creation of Lenovo India was not the only organizational change announced by the company on Friday. Lenovo also announced several organizational moves it is taking on Oct. 15 to further integrate IBM’s former PC business with the company’s Chinese operations.

Frances O’Sullivan, currently Lenovo’s senior vice president and chief operating officer (COO) of Lenovo International, will take charge of the company’s newly created Product Group. As senior vice president and COO of the Product Group, O’Sullivan will develop and manage all of the company’s computer products and product marketing activities worldwide, Lenovo said.

Liu Jun, the current senior vice president and COO of Lenovo China, will head the company’s newly created Global Supply Chain organization. Liu, who will become senior vice president and COO of Global Supply Chain, will oversee all of the company’s procurement, logistics, fulfillment and sales support operations.

Lenovo also announced that all of its research and development (R&D) centers in Beijing; Yamato, Japan; and Raleigh, North Carolina; will operate together as a single entity, headed by George He, who takes over as Lenovo’s chief technology officer.

O’Sullivan, Liu and He will report to Ward, Lenovo said.

(John Ribeiro, in Bangalore, contributed to this report.)

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