Muscling into the Russian computer market

Lenovo is looking to position itself as a key player in Russian computer sales.
With the Russian computer market heating up as major global players focus on its rapid growth, Business RT spoke with Bai Yuli, VP, GM, Lenovo Russia and CIS, about the trends the major manufacturers see, and how they are leveraging this in Russia.
Bai Yuli, VP, GM, Lenovo Russia and CIS
Bai Yuli, VP, GM, Lenovo Russia and CIS

RT:What is the major trend in the Russian personal computer market, and how does this compare internationally?

BY: "Technological and product trends are more or less the same around the world. In Russia we see increasing importance of slates and tablets, notebooks consistently taking higher market shares than desktops, etc.But the most interesting and exciting part is Russia’s growth rate. Russia is one of the most actively growing markets in the world. It’s becoming one of the most important territories for Lenovo. Russia is already Lenovo’s fastest growing country in emerging markets group in terms of shipment growth rates (up 88% in Q4FY10/11). Lenovo’s business strategy is called “Protect and Attack”. We are protecting our positions in China and mature markets while attacking emerging markets, including Russia, trying to establish ourselves as the leaders to ride the natural growth they’ve been demonstrating. We want to establish ourselves as the key players in Russia now in order to gain maximum benefits with the development of the markets in the near future."

RT:How is Lenovo leveraging this trend?

BY: "Russia is one of the first countries where Lenovo rolled out new brand campaign built upon the concept that Lenovo is the company that creates technologies “For Those Who Do”. It’s an authentic position for Lenovo because it specifically defines who we are as a company. Lenovo at its core is a company of “doers”. We are a global company powered by innovators and inventors who are obsessed with making perfect tools.As Lenovo employees, we do what we say, and we own what we do. Lenovo’s products appeal to the people who get out there and make things happen – people with the Do mindset. We are confident that this campaign will help us to create a strong Lenovo brand perception in Russia that will take us to the leading position on the market. In addition Lenovo recently consolidated its operations in Russia. Now company’s Moscow office is responsible for overseeing the operations in Russia and former USSR states (excluding Baltic). This decision makes us more efficient and productive supporting the growth rate we’ve been seeing in the region."

RT:The IT market is very dynamic, with new innovations always coming to market. What, in your opinion, will be the next big innovation which will have a significant impact on consumers?

BY: "Convergence of mobile and PC technologies is the foremost thing. In the not so distant future I think these two fields will unite with each other and providers will offer their services without any connection to either consumer device or channel for transmitting the information. Also form factors will continue to blend with each other. Consider this. Mobile PCs are becoming smaller and smaller while mobile phones and smartphones screens larger and larger. Basically we see the functions of the two types of devices blending with each other. However it’s still too early to make any conclusions on how PC or smartphone of the future will look like."

RT:In which market sectors does Lenovo do best in Russia?How do Russian consumer differ from other nations?

BY: "Lenovo is traditionally strong in notebooks with ThinkPad and IdeaPad product lines for business customers and end-users respectively. Recently we added to our product line company’s first foray into tablets with IdeaPad K1 and ThinkPad Tablet. All-in-ones is another very important growth factor for us and by the end of this year Lenovo will introduce new models to the Russian market that will offer to the consumers great technologies and solutions at an attractive price points."

RT:What are your expansion plans for Russia?

BY: "Russia and CIS countries are one of the most important regions for Lenovo on a global level. All markets have two indexes – market volume and growth potential. Russia is one of the most perspective countries in the word on both of them. We can succeed here only if we fully understand dynamics of the Russian market, its features and laws of development. That is why we are trying to establish very close relations with local partners and customers. We are trying to use Lenovo growth to fuel our business partners’ growth. Additionally consider commitment of the Russian government to bring broadband Internet to every home in Russia. This instantly opens the major opportunity for us because we provide the PC solutions that enable users to go online, from desktops and all-in-ones to notebooks and slates."

­James Blake, Anastasia Kostomarova, RT