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Lenovo prioritises strengthened channel, commercial business

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 25 Jul 2022
Yugen Naidoo, GM of Lenovo Southern Africa.
Yugen Naidoo, GM of Lenovo Southern Africa.

Chinese multinational tech company Lenovo plans to focus on “really strengthening” business with its channel partners.

So says Yugen Naidoo, newly-appointed general manager for Southern Africa operations, speaking to ITWeb about the immediate focus for the business in the local market.

“We are a 100% channel-led organisation, and everything we do goes through our channel partners.”

Furthermore, the customer experience will be at the heart of all that Lenovo does. “We build products with our customers in mind and we build solutions with our channel partners in mind as well. This is something that we will lead, making sure we are investing in innovation, investing in our premium segments and investing in our channel partners to grow their business.”

Appointed GM for Southern Africa operations earlier this month, Naidoo succeeded Thibault Dousson, who now leads the Lenovo Services and Solutions Group for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

He points out that on the South African front, the company leads in the consumer segment, but is looking to grow its commercial business.

In terms of the consumer segment, it is defined by product sets, namely the Lenovo Legion gaming devices, Ideapads, Flex devices, etc – products that traditionally go into the retail stores and non-commercial markets.

Conversely, the commercial business is more into education, government, large enterprise and very large enterprise, he explains. “The area that we are going to be focusing on is really growing our commercial segment; we believe there’s massive opportunity.

“This is a very exciting part of my strategy, which is to accelerate that journey and commercial segment. The commercial PC market is extremely strong and this represents the biggest opportunity for our brand. We’re going to be driving smarter technology for all, but spearheaded by customer experience.”

He highlights gaming as another growth area. “Gaming is a very buoyant market compared to the rest because it is very niche. If you look at the trends over the last few years,especially in Western Europe, there's been a massive adoption for people wanting to have a product that’s powerful enough for gaming and at the same time take that product into their workspace and be very productive.”

Resilient PC market

Although worldwide shipments of traditional PCs declined 15.3% year-over-year to 71.3 million units in the second quarter of 2022, Lenovo held on to the top spot as the world's largest PC vendor by unit sales.

Even with the recent decline, IDC says the total PC volume is still comparable to the beginning of the pandemic, when volumes reached 74.3 million in the second quarter of 2020, and the market is still well above pre-pandemic levels as volumes in the second quarter of 2018 and 2019 were 62.1 million and 65.1 million units, respectively.

Naidoo notes the local PC market has been resilient in the face of the global pandemic. “We have embraced this new culture of agility – work from anywhere − and this is why I say the market is very buoyant.

“The PC demand is definitely going to stabilise because there’s still a lot of people that want to work from everywhere.

“Looking at the population right now and the way people are behaving, I'm seeing a lot of people at coffee shops with their PCs; they need technology, they need to be online, they need to be communicating with their employers and their customers, so the hybrid-remote working arrangement is not going to be here for a few days or few months, this is the way of the future.”

For the education sector, he believes the move to embrace technology will further support the sector’s e-learning efforts.

On predictions of further decline in PC shipments by the end of this year and how the company plans to navigate these, Naidoo indicates Lenovo has demonstrated agility and resilience.

“Our plan is to make sure the digital and intelligent information trend is accelerating. This presents the biggest opportunity for us at this point in time.”