After buying IBM’s x86 server business, as well as Motorola Mobility from Google, Chinese tech giant Lenovo is planning to double its workforce in most countries, including Ireland, where the headcount will grow from 35 to 70 by the end of the company’s fiscal year.
In January, Lenovo confirmed its acquisition of IBM’s x86 server business for US$2.3bn. Then came news Lenovo would be buying Motorola Mobility from Google for US$2.9bn – US$6.9bn less than what Google paid for it in 2012.
In China, Lenovo is one of the biggest electronics brands and its global ambitions to dominate the global PC industry began when the company acquired IBM’s PC division in 2005 for US$1.75bn.
Speaking with Siliconrepublic.com, Lenovo’s EMEA sales operations director and country manager for Ireland Fiona O’Brien said the company has been focused heavily in recent years on being the world’s No 1 PC vendor.
“That’s been achieved,” O’Brien said. “At an EMEA level and according to IDC, we are No 2. We want to take our success in China to new geographies. Last year, we brought our Lenovo smartphone devices to the Middle East and Africa, and Eastern European regions like Russia, and it has been a massive success.”
O’Brien said project teams are hard at work integrating both the IBM x86 server business and the Motorola Mobility group into the Lenovo family.
She said the decision is imminent as to whether Lenovo will sell smartphones with the Motorola brand or brand all its smartphones as Lenovo.
“The acquisitions effectively doubles our workforce in one fell swoop.
“At the moment we have 35 people in Ireland and this will grow to 70 by the end of the fiscal year.”
Return of a brand
O’Brien said Lenovo’s focus in recent years has been on dominating larger markets in terms of PCs, but now the focus will be on growing in all markets across all device ranges.
“When the financial crisis hit, we reconsolidated our efforts and marketing dollars in the direction of larger markets and we aggressively pursued our 10-year goal of being the world's No 1 PC vendor.
“In countries like Ireland, we never stopped selling, we just stopped talking about it. And now it’s time to get back out there and start banging the drum.”
Banging the drums has already begun, with Lenovo sponsoring the Lenovo GAA Skills Hubs. The hubs offer the chance for boys and girls aged between 13 to 15 years of age to learn the skills of Gaelic football and hurling from their heroes and heroines in various venues across the country from June to August this summer.
As part of Lenovo’s sponsorship of the GAA Skills Hub, Lenovo will offer the chance for participants to win an Ideapad at every hub, as well as the opportunity to represent your Skills Hub at the Best of the Best skills competition in Dublin in September.
In addition, Lenovo will roll out a nationwide affinity scheme for all GAA members, offering significant discounts across a range of PCs and mobile internet devices.
O’Brien said that tapping into community spirit is a vital part of her strategy.
“The GAA is a volunteer organisation that plays amateur sports at a very high performance level. We see this as a way of facilitating clubs at a grassroots level to get access to technology.”
The move is a logical one; while Lenovo excels at a corporate level in Ireland it hasn’t focused on consumer or retail sales for some time.
“If you are going to start selling to people, you have to be known,” said O'Brien.