Olympic organizers want tried and tested, stable technologies

As the Olympic fever starts building up in China, the biggest
event sponsor, Lenovo, organized a major campaign. It marked the one-year-out
for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, that start in August next year. Though no
specific spending figures on the Games have been revealed, the marketing
managers at Lenovo say that they will deploy over 20,000 pieces of IT equipment
including desktops, notebooks, servers, and printers for the games, preparations
for which started 2 years ago. Lenovo is looking at this as the biggest
opportunity to turn its image from a Chinese company to a global PC player.
Members of international media caught up with Lenovo group chairman Yang
Yanquing, who shared his views on a range of issues.

Lenovo is the global IT partner for one of the worlds most
prestigious sporting event, the 2008 Olymic Games in Beijing. How does it feel?

Sponsorship for the Beijing Olympics has started to pay-off. It
is helping us build our brand internationally, a key business objective for

Would you want to sponsor the next Olympics too?
We will be assessing the situation before taking a decision. Cannot answer
the question now.

If you have to build a global brand, would Lenovo be looking at
regional games such as the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi?
Yes, we will consider them too.

What new technologies are you planning to implement at the 2008
Beijing Olympics?
The organizing committee is very careful about latest technologies. Rather,
they want tried and tested stable technologies.

How many machines will you be deploying at the Olympic games?
We will have 20,000 pieces of equipment from Lenovo for managing the games.
These include 12,000 desktops, 6,000 notebooks, and server and printers. And
both Windows XP and Vista will be used.

How is the progress on the Lenovo acquisition of IBMs PC
We have very successfully completed our integration of the IBM PC business.
I am proud to say that from a $3 bn local Chinese PC company we have now become
a $15 bn global giant.

Besides PCs and notebooks, Lenovo is the mobile phone market
leader among domestic companies in China. Are you planning to take your mobile
phone to very hot and rapidly growing markets like India?
Our global focus is on the PC and notebooks business. There is a lot to do
there. Mobile handset focus is on China right now.

Lenovo wants to think differently and innovate. Low cost PCs is
one initiative that has just not taken off. What is your view on that?
We launched a sub-$400 low cost PC in China three years ago. Recently we
have again announced a $199 PC for the rural and village markets. We could
consider it for India as well as other emerging markets too.

What would be the key markets that Lenovo would like to
aggressively go after, over the next three to five years?
I think we would like to expand in high value relationship business with
large customers, as well as have very good offering for transaction-based
consumers. In terms of markets, the focus will be on the US, Western Europe,
Japan, and also emerging economies including the Bric countries.

How do you think consumer markets will be addressed?
We want to win consumers by having a business model with which we can offer
them competitive products, and great experience.

What are the cultural changes you want to bring about in Lenovo
after the acquisition? Will it be the IBM or the Lenovo culture?
We believe in trust, respect, and compromise. And, we are building these
values uniformly across the organization. This will be the new culture. It does
not matter if its the IBM culture or Lenovo. The new culture should help us
enhance efficiency, and manage change quickly.

Ibrahim Ahmad
The author was hosted in Beijing

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