CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

20 February 2013

Kenya: Lenovo Attacks Market, Adds Android Tablets to Its PC Line

Lenovo is making moves to increase market share in Kenya.

This was announced by Shamir Jaffer, Lenovo General Manager for East Africa alongside other Lenovo key personnel, including Oliver Ebel - Executive director and General Manager Lenovo Africa and Middle East. They were speaking at a media briefing held at the Nairobi Serena. The manufacturer currently holds 8.6 percent market share in the country according to research firm IDC . The device manufacturer is angling for 10 percent share by April.

Started as Legend in 1984, the company rebranded to Lenovo in 2002 (Le for Legend and Novo being Latin for new as the company found many businesses under the name Legend existed in many countries. The company acquired IBM's PC business in 2005, and having a huge market share in China, the acquisition saw the company become the third largest PC manufacturer globally.

In a bid to increase its market share, the company adopted a protect and attack strategy. The strategy sees the firm working to protect countries where it's market share is huge such as China and working to attack countries where it has weak presence.

In China, the firm has a policy to establish at least one Lenovo store within 50 kilometres of every consumer, while in India, the firm has granted regions exclusively to the firm's distributors.

The firm also moved to acquire electronic manufacturers who had a strong presence in certain markets. Lenovo acquired Medion which saw it acquire a large market share in Germany and Brazilian firm CCE which also lead to a substantial market share acquisition. Lenovo also established a joint venture with Japanese electronic manufacturer, NEC, also enabling acquire a substantial share of the Japanese market.

Lenovo last year overtook Dell to become the second largest PC vendor globally with a share of 14.8 percent, behind HP's 16 percent. Dell has a 10.7 percent share, Acer 10.4 percent and Asus 6.9 percent. Ebel says the company has been the fastest growing PC vendor for the last 30 quarters.

The firm is also looking beyond the PC market and has introduced Android and Windows 8 tablets, Microsoft Surface Tables, Android Smart TVs and Android smartphones. The products are first trialed in China before being rolled out globally.

Lenovo is now the third biggest device manufacturer with a 6 percent share behind Apple's 22 percent and Samsung's 20 percent. HP has a 5 percent share. Smartphones have propelled Lenovo with the firm becoming the biggest smartphone manufacturer in China, the world's biggest smartphone market.

Jaffer says that the company will has entered into deals with Safaricom and other retailers such as PC World, Bright Technologies and Avenue electronics to have branded sections within outlets. The branded sections will exclusively showcase Lenovo products.

Lenovo has over the years developed the IdeaPad line of PCs targeted at consumers and will join the IBM developed ThinkPad range of PCs targeted at the enterprise sector.

Safaricom will begin stocking two Android tablets in mid March. A 7 inch tablet will retail at about Ksh. 20,000 while a 10 inch tablet will retail at about KSh. 35,000. A high end Windows 8 Pro tablet will be introduced in Kenya in the second quarter of 2013. There are no immediate plans to introduce Android smartphones and smart TVs in the region.

Redington, Mitsumi, SAI Office Supplies and Mustek are the current distributors of Lenovo products in the region, with the four sharing three warranty centres between them.

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