Caixin
Jan 15, 2020 07:47 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Lenovo Founder Warns of ‘Extremely Hard Fights’ Ahead

Liu Chuanzhi, retired founder of Lenovo.
Liu Chuanzhi, retired founder of Lenovo.

Weeks after he announced he was passing the torch to a new generation, Lenovo’s founder warned of tough times ahead for the PC-making giant.

Speaking at an end-of-year meeting Tuesday, Liu Chuanzhi said the company should prioritize controlling risks over expansion and warned that the company will face “extremely hard fights in the future.” He also said that the firm should hold onto its edge in the Chinese market as its “primary home base,” as well as hang onto its leadership in the PC market.

The PC business made up nearly 80% of Lenovo’s revenue from April to September last year, and is still growing despite the world market’s lackluster last decade.

The world PC market contracted for eight consecutive years to 2018, according to market consultancy IDC. This turned around last year however, with overall shipments growing 2.7% to 267 million units, according to IDC data released Monday.

Lenovo remains the world’s No. 1 PC-maker, with a 24.3% market share last year. In the fourth quarter it had a 40% share of global shipments, up 8% from a year earlier. Second-place player HP Inc. had a 23.6% share for the whole of 2019.

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Lenovo’s smartphone and data-related businesses contributed 11.8% and 10.3% to its revenue respectively over the April to September period last year.

External uncertainties and internal mistakes have posed challenges, but the company should face reality with a humble attitude and learn lessons by constantly reflecting on its past mistakes, Liu also said.

Liu announced last month that he would step down from his position as chairman and executive director of Lenovo Group Ltd.’s parent Legend Holdings Corp. The 75-year-old, who was among the first generation of China high-tech entrepreneurs to emerge shortly after the country began its experiment with market economics, will move into a more advisory role, a source told Caixin.

He told the gathering his lung is still recovering from cancer surgery in 2014, though it is not going as smoothly as expected.

Contact reporter Isabelle Li (liyi@caixin.com)

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