Lenovo considers Africa to be the emerging market that will generate the most sizeable proportion of its future growth.
In part, that is because many of the 900 million people on the continent have a voracious appetite for technology, in the belief that it is a crucial tool for development. There are, therefore, millions of first time buyers looking for products that are rugged and reliable. Lenovo is seen as such a brand.
In addition, Lenovo’s growth in Africa is being fuelled by its enterprise clients, many of whom are opening up markets in Africa for themselves. These clients include multi-nationals headquartered in China and South African financial services and blue chip industrial and commercial organisations. As their incumbent PC supplier, Lenovo must make sure that it has a strong service and support infrastructure in place for them.
For that reason, Lenovo South Africa, which is responsible for Lenovo’s sub-Saharan business, is pro-actively gearing up for an increased take-up of its products on the continent by strengthening its existing business partner channel to ensure that world class service and support is available where it’s needed.
The company’s regional hubs in East Africa, covering Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, West Africa, servicing Nigeria and Ghana, and South Africa, covering the SADC region and the continent’s French-speaking territories, will be supplemented over time by smaller local offices in specific countries.
“The crucial factor, when you’re doing business in Africa, is to recognise that economic and commercial maturity, as well as regulatory environments, and physical infrastructure differ vastly not just from region to region, but country to country,” says Henry Ferreira, Lenovo General Manager for Africa.
“It essential, therefore, to not only make sure you understand local conditions but that you embrace them. Being an objective outsider takes you only so far. The people in the country in which you want to operate will be more committed to you only if you’re thoroughly committed to their needs.”
Those needs also differ on a country basis. In some cases, the hardware demand is for machines that are three or four generations behind those currently in use in developed regions. In others, the requirement is for systems that are on the cutting edge of sophistication.
“It’s our job to make sure that clients, whether they are consumers, governments, or businesses, get the machines they need at the price they can afford,” says Ferreira. ‘Fortunately, we have an enormously broad range of PCs, laptops, and handheld devices. So we never walk away from a request for equipment. We even work with our own suppliers, such as Intel or AMD, to source older generation technologies for clients whose needs are extremely basic.”
Currently, Lenovo South Africa’s biggest African market is South Africa – because it is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest, most mature and best-performing economy. “However, the potential in East and West Africa is vast and, for 2011, we are focusing on positioning ourselves to participate in their growth while, at the same time, being an enabler of their growth, ” Ferreira says.
By: Staff Reporter