Judging by its insight into the evolving PC supply market in Africa and high-growth segments like mobility, Lenovo South Africa sounds like it is ahead of the curve – effectively pushing its attack & protect strategy and waved approach to product supply across four quadrants: PC, tablet, smartphone and smart TV.
With the realisation that the market has changed significantly and is now determined and driven by consumer demand rather than vendor dominated control, the company has tailored its strategy to capitalise off trends and developments.
As straight down the line as it sounds, what does a ‘protect and attack’ strategy mean in practice? Graham Braum, Country Manager, Lenovo South Africa, uses the company’s presence in China to illustrate how this global strategy is executed.
“We are looking at protecting strengths, like China, where we have more than 35% marketshare. We are definitely protecting the PC side of it. Having said that, an attack strategy, for instance in China, is what we would call PC Plus, and that’s really how we focus on attacking areas where we never invested in before. Today we invest heavily in PC Plus and we want to become the PC leader, and our research and development is geared to helping us achieve this,” says Braum.
PC Plus is the term used to describe the combination of key focus points including the smartphone, tablets, smart TV, storage and cloud. “Yes, our heritage is round PC and we continue to drive to be the leader there, we have been the fastest growing player out of the top PC vendors for the last 13 quarters consecutively. Last quarter we reached our all time high globally of 15,9% share .”
However the future for the company lies in the phased rollout of PC Plus.
The ‘Magic briefcase’
According to Braum highlights a number of development that reinforce the company’s investment portfolio including an alliance with SugarSync to introduce Magic Briefcase for consumers, as well as its Joint Venture with EMC and launch of Lenovo EMC Inc., which is around the alignment with Iomego on NAS.
“PC Plus, for us, is where the real investment is going to be going forward, because this is where we see the massive growth,” says Braum.
To help push the attack strategy on PC Plus, Lenovo has mobilised its MIDH (Mobile Internet Digital Home) division, a two-year-old silo that incorporates 920 engineers and more than 3000 dedicated employees.
The initial wave of business to engage the Chinese market has resulted in the company securing second spot in the mobile phone market and second in tablets with 14,5% share as well as launching smart TV.
The company has already started to ship in tablets into Middle East and Africa, both consumer tablets addressing volume space on Android platform and then business-focused Think range.
Africa’s appetite for mobile
Braum says there is no question of the demand for mobility in Africa. “There are about six billion mobile phone users worldwide. In Africa we have 650 million users, about eleven percent of the total worldwide market.”
The continent may be the first PC Plug region because it my skip the PC he continues. “The PC remains the heart of all devices … it is still the heart of the phone and of the tablet. Of the six hundred and fifty million users, one in five devices is smart-phone ready. The appetite for the smartphone is there. If we look at key regions like Nigeria and Kenya, there is a solid appetite for tablets and the expectation, depending on economies of scale and affordability of matrix, is that there is a huge demand for tablet devices.”
Management at Lenovo believes that mobility will continue to be the main market going forward, with a definite increase in activity amongst all stakeholders including government, telecommunications companies, service providers and others – particularly around access to infrastructure and connectivity.
“At the end of the day, no one market is the same. In Africa, we are going to market country by country. You have different requirements for each, from an audience, culture and purchasing behaviour. We are engaging resellers through our reseller programme and we continue to train and support this network to add value to consumers,” says Braum.
The advice the company gives to resellers and distributors is that it is important to understand and focus on PC Plus in order to remain relevant and innovate according to a radically different market.
Chris Tredger, Online Editor