Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo, talks on artificial intelligence at an innovation conference in Shanghai on Thursday. (Photo provided to China Daily)
Lenovo Group Ltd announced on Thursday it had teamed up with JD.com Inc, China's second biggest e-commerce player, to build a big data platform, as the two make joint efforts to tap into opportunities brought about by artificial intelligence.
The move is part of Lenovo's broader push to leverage AI to breathe new life into its PC, smartphone, data center and other hardware businesses.
Lenovo Chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing said JD has accumulated huge amounts of e-commerce data from consumers who love buying electronics online, while Lenovo knows how millions of its devices are being used every day.
"When the two types of data are analyzed, they can generate big value, such as predicting exactly how many computers will be in demand next month," Yang said.
"It can help Lenovo better manage the supply and demand of our products."
Lenovo and JD said they aim to sell 80 billion yuan ($12.04 billion) worth of consumer electronics in three years, up from the 60 billion yuan target they promised last year.
Liu Jun, president of Lenovo's China unit, said personal computers sales alone would reach 60 billion yuan. Mobile phones will account for 15 billion yuan, with the rest generated from other smart devices such as speakers.
Liu also said Lenovo aims to overhaul its more than 10,000 offline retail stores, in a move to adapt to consumers' changing shopping habits.
"Currently, most of them sell only personal computers. We will turn them into cool retail stores which sell a wide range of consumer electronics," Liu said.
Lenovo is stepping up its investments into new technologies including AI, in an effort to reduce its reliance on PCs and revive its tumbling smartphone business.
The company said in April that it would pour $1.2 billion into research and development of artificial intelligence, the internet of things and big data over the next four years.
Rui Yong, chief technology officer of Lenovo, said the company's edge in big data, computing power and algorithms could help it stay competitive and relevant in the AI era.
"We have the largest number of manufacturing data groups in China. Of the top 500 high-performance computers in the world, 91 of them are made and operated by Lenovo," Rui said.
Lenovo also signed a deal with Chinese electric vehicle startup NIO on Thursday to jointly develop a computing platform to drive smart driving.
Xiang Ligang, CEO of telecom industry website cctime.com, said Lenovo could gain a lead in AI, if it could swiftly implement its strategy and utilize its advantages in information infrastructure.