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Lenovo bets big on India, aims to take on Samsung

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China’s Ltd on Thursday said it wanted to become a major player in India’s 16-million market and expressed confidence that it could beat Co Ltd, the world’s largest smartphone maker, in India and other emerging markets.

“Samsung is the greatest company in the world right now. We are confident we can compete with them. If we can beat them in China there is no reason why we cannot beat them in India,” Yang Yuanqing, chairman and chief executive officer of Lenovo, told reporters here.

Lenovo, the world’s second largest (PC) maker, entered the smartphone market last year under its own brand across emerging markets.

At present, South Korea’s Samsung and Finland’s dominate India’s smartphone market with a combined 80 per cent share. “From the next financial year, we have targeted to sell 1 million smartphones in the country (India). We have already sold 9 million phones in China in the last three months,“ Yang said, who was in Delhi with a management team.

The Chinese company, which launched smartphones, some of which are priced below Rs 10,000, in south India in November, has sold over 40,000 devices so far. It will look for a 10 per cent market share in the next few years, said Milko Van Duijl, president Asia-Pacific and Latin America, Lenovo.

Currently, smartphones are imported from China, but Milko did not rule out starting manufacturing in India later.

Asked about reports that Lenovo was considering acquiring Canadian smartphone maker (formerly Research In Motion), its chief financial officer said: “We would do acquisitions which add value to our existing business. Acquisition in the PC plus (mobile space) offer more interest to us.”

He refused to divulge further details.

Chairman Yang said the company’s strategy was to defend its position in China, and attack rivals in other emerging markets, including India. He added the company would continue innovations in the consumer electronics space. “The notebook and the desktop PCs will not die. It will be redefined and the market will continue to grow. And Lenovo will be a pioneer in this innovation.”

Asked about the battle between Samsung and Apple Inc on patent infringement, Yang said: “It’s not right to copy at all. The purpose of intellectual property rights is not to copy, but to innovate.”

Identifying the three key areas where the company would focus on, Yang said: “Smart connected devices would become lighter, and you would be able to talk and even gesture to them. The second key area would be cloud computing, which would help in information collaboration. And the third area would be security.”

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