2013年1月15日 星期二

聯想蹣跚走向世界2008 表現不錯2012

Chinese industry

From guard shack to global giant

How did Lenovo become the world’s biggest computer company?

LENOVO started humbly. Its founders established the Chinese technology firm in 1984 with $25,000 and held early meetings in a guard shack. It did well selling personal computers in China, but stumbled abroad. Its acquisition of IBM’s PC business in 2005 led, according to one insider, “to nearly complete organ rejection”.

Gobbling up an entity double its size was never going to be easy. But cultural differences made it trickier. IBMers chafed at Chinese practices such as mandatory exercise breaks and public shaming of latecomers to meetings. Chinese staff, said a Lenovo executive at the time, marvelled that: “Americans like to talk; Chinese people like to listen. At first we wondered why they kept talking when they had nothing to say.” Two Western chief executives failed to turn things around. By 2008, as the financial crisis raged, Lenovo was bleeding red ink.

Given all this, its recent success is startling. In the third quarter of last year, Gartner, a consultancy, declared Lenovo the world’s biggest seller of PCs, ahead of Hewlett-Packard (HP). Even if HP briefly recaptures the lead in the fourth quarter, the trend seems clear: Lenovo is on a roll (see chart 1). It is number one in five of the seven biggest PC markets, including Japan and Germany. Its mobile division is poised to leapfrog Samsung to grab the top spot in China, the world’s biggest smartphone market. This week it made a splash at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with what PC World called “bullish bravado and a seemingly bottomless trunk” of enticing new products.
Lenovo’s rebound raises several questions. How did the firm recover from disaster? Is its new strategy sustainable? And does its rise signal the emergence of China’s first world-class brand?
Lenovo’s recovery owes much to a risky strategy, dubbed “Protect and Attack”, embraced by the firm’s current boss. After taking over in 2009, Yang Yuanqing moved swiftly. Keen to trim the bloat he inherited from IBM, Mr Yang cut a tenth of the workforce. He then acted to protect its two huge profit centres—corporate PC sales and the China market—even as he attacked new markets with new products.
When Lenovo bought IBM’s corporate PC business, it was rumoured to be a money-loser. Some whispered that Chinese ineptitude would sink IBM’s well-regarded Think PC brand. Not so: shipments have doubled since the deal, and operating margins are thought to be above 5%.
An even bigger profit centre is Lenovo’s China business, which accounts for some 45% of total revenues. Amar Babu, who runs Lenovo’s Indian business, thinks the firm’s strategy in China offers lessons for other emerging markets. It has a vast distribution network, which aims to put a PC shop within 50km (30 miles) of nearly every consumer. It has cultivated close relationships with its distributors, who are granted exclusive territorial rights.
Conquering India
Mr Babu has copied this approach in India, tweaking it slightly. In China, the exclusivity for retail distributors is two-way: the firm sells only to them, and they sell only Lenovo kit. But because the brand was still unproven in India, retailers refused to grant the firm exclusivity, so Mr Babu agreed to one-way exclusivity. His firm will sell only to a given retailer in a region, but allows them to sell rival products.
In this way, Lenovo cultivates loyal brand ambassadors, who also give timely feedback on which products and features consumers like. That allows designers to speed up product-development cycles. The firm’s first smartphone flopped, but paved the way for a flurry of hits.
Buoyed by success in corporate PCs and China, Lenovo has spent heavily to expand its share of the global PC market, especially in emerging markets. The brand is universally known in China; not so elsewhere. Spending on promotion, branding and marketing rose by $248m in the year ending in March 2012 (though the firm will not reveal the full amount).
Acquisitions help, too. In 2011 Lenovo bought Medion, a European electronics firm, for $738m, which doubled its share of the German PC market. The same year it spent $450m to enter a joint venture with NEC that made it the largest PC firm in Japan. In 2012 it paid $148m to buy CCE, Brazil’s biggest computer firm. It is also opening factories in markets, including America, where it is surging.
To focus on PCs, Mr Yang’s predecessor sold Lenovo’s smartphone arm for $100m in 2008. Mr Yang bought it back for twice as much the next year. He believes that PCs and other devices will converge, so knowledge of one area will breed expertise in the other. He may be right. Smartphone sales are red hot in China, and Lenovo is now selling mobiles and tablets in several emerging markets. Fourteen quarters in a row, Lenovo has grown faster than the overall PC industry, which shrank by 8% last quarter. A year and a half ago, the firm held double-digit PC market shares in a dozen countries; today, it does so in 34.
Alas, there is a tiny problem with Protect and Attack: the attack part is largely unprofitable. In most markets outside China, Lenovo’s mobile phones, tablets and consumer PCs (as opposed to corporate sales of ThinkPads) lose money.
“Profit is the long-term goal,” says Mr Yang, “but it helps to have a large revenue base.” He vows to keep investing, regardless of returns, until the firm reaches a roughly 10% share in each of the target markets. Only with such scale is long-term profitability possible, he insists. Wong Wai Ming, the firm’s chief financial officer, is confident Lenovo will eventually double its pretax profit margin of 2%.
The long game

In 2009 Mr Yang persuaded the board to give him four years to show results. If allowed to invest, he promised to turn a $226m annual loss into a profit; in fact, the firm posted a profit of $164m last quarter. He vowed to lift annual revenues, then around $15 billion, past $20 billion; they are now $30 billion (see chart 2). He also said he would raise Lenovo’s global market share from 7% to double digits; it is now close to 16%.

Lenovo does not simply churn out cheap goods. It is spending heavily on branding, distribution, manufacturing and product development. And alongside its cheap gizmos are many mid-range and some premium gadgets, such as the Yoga, a laptop that cleverly converts into a tablet.

On January 6th the firm announced a reorganisation: Lenovo Business Group will make things for cost-conscious consumers, while the new Think Business Group will chase the premium segment. Mr Yang wants the Think brand to compete with Apple; he plans to open fancy showrooms like Apple’s.

Lenovo’s culture is different from that of other Chinese firms. A state think-tank, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, provided the original $25,000 seed capital, and still owns an indirect stake. But those in the know say Lenovo is run as a private firm, with little or no official interference.

Some credit must go to Liu Chuanzhi, the chairman of Legend Holdings, a Chinese investment firm from which Lenovo was spun out. Legend still holds a stake, but Lenovo shares trade freely in Hong Kong. Mr Liu, one of those who schemed in the guard shack, has long dreamed that Legend Computer (as Lenovo was known until 2004) would become a global star.

The firm is strikingly unChinese in some ways. English is the official language. Many senior executives are foreign. Top brass and important meetings rotate between two headquarters, in Beijing and Morrisville, North Carolina (where IBM’s PC division was based), and Lenovo’s research hub in Japan. Only after giving two foreigners a try did Mr Liu push for a Chinese chief executive: his protégé Mr Yang.

Mr Yang, who spoke little English at the time of the IBM deal, moved his family to North Carolina to immerse himself in American ways. Foreigners at Chinese firms often seem like fish out of water, but at Lenovo they look like they belong. One American executive at the firm praises Mr Yang for instilling a bottom-up “performance culture”, instead of the traditional Chinese corporate game of “waiting to see what the emperor wants”.

Still, the firm has some way to go. It is far too reliant on one market, China. Global investors will not tolerate its meagre profits for ever; some are already grousing. And its global marketing push, which targets go-getting youngsters, is a work in progress.

Its slogan in English is not bad: “Lenovo: for those who do”. The firm sponsored the Beijing Olympics, is an official partner of America’s National Football League and has commissioned adverts by a director of James Bond films. Still, David Roman, a former HP and Apple executive who is Lenovo’s chief marketing officer, admits that “none of the successful Chinese firms has yet got a global brand, including us”.

Lenovo uses the hypercompetitive Chinese market as a test bed for products and strategies that are later rolled out globally. That is both a strength and a weakness. If Lenovo is to cement its market-share gains elsewhere, it must go beyond merely copying what works in China.

Bad timing makes this problem more daunting. Lenovo has managed to get to the top of the PC mountain at precisely the moment when the mountain appears to be crumbling. Industry sales are shrinking as PCs are made obsolete by other devices. HP has even mooted quitting the business altogether. Some say Lenovo’s costly global expansion will end in tears.
Mr Yang disagrees. Indeed, he shows an unfashionable faith in PCs, which are still 85% of Lenovo’s revenues. They will keep evolving, he insists, citing the Yoga. Inventive firms can still profit from them. He gushes about a “PC+” approach, now being tried in China, that adds mobiles, tablets and smart televisions to PCs and connects them all with a local cloud.
He also thinks Lenovo has a secret weapon. It has kept a lot of manufacturing in-house (why outsource to Foxconn when you already pay Chinese wages?). Mr Yang believes this in-house expertise gives his firm an edge in product development. But Lenovo must exploit that edge better than it has done so far if it is to compete with a technology powerhouse like Samsung and build a global brand anything like Apple’s.

If Lenovo is to become China’s first world-class brand, it must come up with products that consumers are passionate about. In December, as he was honoured as “Economic Figure of the Year” by China’s national broadcaster, Mr Yang described the task ahead for his firm and country: “My dream is that one day China will be more than a world factory…it will be a global centre for innovation.”

聯想智能手機銷量大增 機遇與挑戰並存

全球範圍來看﹐蘋果(Apple Inc.)和三星電子(Samsung Electronics Co.)或許可以說是智能手機市場的主導者﹐但在中國﹐卻殺出一個增長迅猛、危及其領先地位的競爭者。

聯想Ideaphone K860智能手機
生 產個人電腦(PC)的中國企業聯想集團有限公司(Lenovo Group Ltd.)今年第三季度售出的智能手機數量是蘋果的兩倍﹐同時也拉近了它與中國市場上銷量最大的三星電子的差距﹐且大有趕超之勢。研究人員普遍預計﹐中國 將於今年超越美國﹐成為世界上最大的智能手機市場。但在迅速擴張的同時﹐聯想的智能手機業務也面臨挑戰:如何在一個對手如林、拼價格且難以賺到錢的行業裡 擠壓出利潤?

由於中國需求旺盛﹐今年第三季度聯想智能手機的銷量較上年同期高出了17倍﹐這說明全球智能手機市場的整體增長不再靠美國或 其他成熟市場推動。此外﹐這還引出了另一個問題:全球智能手機行業是否會出現蘋果和三星電子之外的第三個贏家?目前只有蘋果和三星電子兩家智能手機生產商 實現了強勁利潤。分析人士說﹐儘管前路挑戰重重﹐聯想仍有迎難而上的潛力。

巴克萊(Barclays)負責硬件技術業的董事總經理楊應超 說﹐聯想的優勢在於﹐它中國市場的PC業務很賺錢﹐可為智能手機的擴張提供資金。他說﹐PC業務獲利使得聯想可優先考慮智能手機業務的增長問題﹐而不是盈 利。今年第三季度﹐聯想在中國市場上的PC業務實現了5.9%的營運利潤率。

由於中國 和其它新興市場上初次使用智能手機的用戶有著爆炸性需求﹐全球智能手機市場的格局正在不斷變化﹐這為蘋果和三星電子以外的競爭者帶來了潛在機遇﹐它們可爭 取到足夠的挑戰這兩位巨頭的規模經濟。不過﹐這裡也存在巨大挑戰﹐即廉價智能機在市場上會遭遇激烈的價格競爭﹐原因是市場上有很多競爭者在拼銷量﹐因此可 能面臨長期不盈利的風險。

聯想說﹐自己的智能手機業務目前並不盈利﹐但沒有披露虧損數據。不過據研究機構Gartner的統計﹐聯想佔中 國智能手機市場的份額已從去年第三季度的僅1.7%大幅增至今年第三季度的14.8%﹐僅次於三星電子16.7%的佔比﹐大大領先於蘋果的6.9%。中國 是聯想智能手機銷量最大的市場。Gartner預測聯想將在明年底之前成為中國第一大智能手機生產商。

 中國個人電腦生產商聯想集團有限公司週三宣佈﹐已達成一項協議﹐將以3億巴西雷亞爾(合1.47億美元)收購巴西消費電子產品生產商Digibras Participacoes SA。


 現在我們弄不清楚 最高經營者在此次的表現所佔的重要份量佔多少


 中国企业迫切希望“走出去”以及不惜代价在全球市场获得一 席之地。以中兴(ZTE)为例:这家电信设备制造商在进军竞争激烈的全球智能手机市场过程中损害了自己的利润率。能源集团中海油(CNOOC)为收购加拿 大的尼克森(Nexen)报出了很高的溢价,即使该交易不太可能带来增值效应。两家公司都能从联想(Lenovo)学到点东西。
个人电脑(PC)制造商联想昨日表示,过去3个月,该公司营收同比增长35%,极为微薄的利润率也有所扩大,营业利润增长近50%。联想并非在向价 值链上游延伸——电脑出货量的增长正在抵消价格不断下跌的影响。利润大幅增长完全在于成本控制。该公司的费用比率同比下降7个百分点,降至10%。做得 好!
还有更多需要努力的地方。尽管联想在PC市场的占有率现在仅略低于全球领军企业惠普(HP),但联想的营业利润率仅为惠普的四分之一。然而,进步可 能需要时间。发达市场推动了联想最近的增长,这在一定程度上得益于联想收购日本NEC的PC业务和德国的Medion公司。全球下一阶段增长将在很大程度 上来源于利润率较低的新兴市场。
然而,联想试图提升利润的努力没有止步于PC领域。本月,该公司宣布与美国存储服务器公司EMC合作,EMC曾与戴尔(Dell)合作。市场调研机 构伯恩斯坦(Bernstein)指出,即便是最基础的服务器也可以获得13%的毛利率,相当于PC业务的最高水平。更复杂服务器的利润率可能高达 20%,对于一家目前利润率勉强达到这个数字一半多一点的公司而言,这颇具吸引力。

WSJ 這篇 "in strifes" 就我們有外商工作經驗者 或多莞爾


在2005年時,聯想集團(Lenovo Group Ltd.)還是一家名不見經傳的電腦制造商,只在中國銷售電腦,



AFP/Getty Images
聯想集團吸納了不少IBM和戴爾公司(Dell Inc.)的管理人員,在墨西哥和波蘭開設了工廠,







比如,摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)預計聯想季度表現疲弱,







聯想董事、前首席財務長馬雪征(Mary Ma)說,我們清楚我們不能失敗,這不僅是為了我們,







聯想主席楊元慶將首席執行長的職位讓給了一位西方人,並將公司的官方語言改為英語,盡管他本人從大學畢業後很少講英語。他強迫自己觀看CNN學習英語,並將家搬到了北卡羅來納州的羅利。聯想營銷高管李嵐(Alice Li)則借了《絕望主婦》(Desperate Housewives)的DVD觀看。


2005年底從戴爾公司進入聯想擔任首席執行長的阿梅裡奧(Bill Amelio)有時會對中國同事不願說出他們的想法感到惱火。








聯想卻在經濟低迷之時仍大力進入競爭激烈的消費者市場。上個月,聯想開始銷售399美元的迷你筆記本電腦IdeaPad S10,這是該公司首次進入高速增長的“上網本”(netbook)市場。




Packard Co.)正在不斷擴大在國際市場上的份額。蘋果公司(Apple Inc.)重整其Macintosh個人電腦系列。飛速增長的台灣競爭對手宏碁(Acer)收購Gateway Inc.之後,一舉超過聯想成為全球發貨量第三大的個人電腦生產商。

Bloomberg News/Landov
William Amelio




聯想負責全球供應鏈的高級副總裁加裡﹒史密斯(Gerry Smith)表示,整個供應網看起來象意大利空心面一樣亂。







聯想負責人力資源的副總裁肯﹒迪皮埃特羅(Ken DiPietro)說,















負責筆記本業務的聯想高級副總裁彼得﹒霍騰休斯(Peter Hortensius)回憶道,








Jane Spencer