Lenovo opens doors in South Africa

Last week saw IBM’s personal computer division (PCD) officially begin the transition to becoming Lenovo, following its recent US$1.8 billion sale.

The change in South Africa, says Rashid Wally, country GM for Lenovo, should be seamless, as the entire PCD division has migrated to Lenovo. “The ‘Think’ brand will also remain the same,” he says, “but potentially we have a much wider portfolio of product to offer local businesses and consumers, as and when markets for these products develop.”

The take-over of IBM’s PC division will hopefully help IBM push into new markets locally, especially the retail market, says Wally.

The two companies come from two opposite sides of the PC business, with IBM’s strength classically in notebooks and the corporate market, while Lenovo has a strong foothold in the Far East as a consumer desktop manufacturer.

IBM has a five-year commitment to Lenovo, which covers elements of the transition, including maintaining and developing the existing customer base, warranties and servicing, financing and internal supply of equipment. Lenovo, Wally says, will continue to use its channel as an important fulfilment medium, with a major emphasis being placed on management tools for PCs.

“The PC market is fairly self-regulating with regards to price,” says Wally, but he believes that the channel and systems integrators will be able to realize more business value from Lenovo’s products.

Lenovo is currently pushing out ‘ThinkPad’ branded products, with a TabletPC already being marketed overseas.

“The channel can expect Lenovo product to start making an appearance between the end of this year, and the beginning of next year,” Wally says. Until then, IBM’s existing products will continue to be marketed and supported.

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