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Lenovo unit thinking past PC to the Internet of Things

2014-07-25 08:27 China Daily Web Editor: Qin Dexing

Lenovo Group Ltd on Thursday launched a new Internet of Things unit to make sure the world's largest personal computer does not miss the next big trend in electronics manufacturing.

Lenovo, based in Beijing, is using the new platform to position tech startups, including makers of smart glasses and intelligent home appliances, under its brand.

The company called it a tryout of new business in the IoT sector.

Chen Xudong, senior vice-president of Lenovo, said the company will buy shares in or set up joint ventures with global startups in order to introduce more wearable devices and wirelessly connected products to the market.

"We cannot make all the products even though we know some of the devices are clearly profitable," Chen said, adding that the IoT startups will help Lenovo to build an ecosystem and simultaneously enjoy returns.

Lenovo's 13-person New Business Development team, working as a startup incubator and online retail store, will primarily target the Chinese market but will eventually join the international market, said Chen.

"The NBD was built based on an Internet philosophy. There's a clear difference between it and the company's traditional businesses such as PC and server sales," according to Chen.

The NBD is Lenovo's latest attempt to explore profit sources outside personal computers.

Bai Yuli, head of the NBD project, told China Daily there still is not a clear direction for the new team as it was created only six months ago.

"The team functions as an Internet company, and we are currently aiming to make sure the products released in the first round can provide profits to the developers," Bai said.

Lenovo has been mapping out post-PC strategies in recent years.

It has launched a number of mobile Internet products, including smartphones and smart televisions.

The company is the largest local smartphone maker by shipments, according to industry researcher Analysys International.

The company's major profit producer, the PC unit, bested the market in the second quarter. It shipped more than 14,000 PCs in the June quarter, taking roughly 20 percent of market share, according to research firm IDC.

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