Chinese multinational tech company Lenovo says it is well on the way to meeting its goal of creating more jobs in its global research and development (R&D) department – having hired over 6 000 employees so far.
In April 2022, Lenovo committed to hiring 12 000 R&D professionals around the world over the next three years, as it transforms from a devices company to a technology “powerhouse”.
At the time, it said the new R&D professionals will add to the 5 000 hired during financial year 2021/22, to support research across the new IT architecture of “client-edge-cloud-network-intelligence”.
In a recent interview with ITWeb, Yugen Naidoo, GM of Lenovo Southern Africa, provided an update: “The core of our business is driven by innovation. We have put a stake in the ground that we would hire 12 000 R&D employees over a period of three years and so far, we have hired over 6 000.
“We saw a massive spike in demand after lockdown and supply was very hard to keep up with. Stabilisation is coming back to the market, so you have to fight hard to make sure you maintain market share and have the best products for customers.”
According to Naidoo, the need to make more hires in the R&D department comes amid business growth, particularly after the lockdown period, when the company introduced new features, functionalities and designs across its product portfolio.
The new technologies developed by Lenovo’s R&D department include the Lenovo Smart Display and Smart Home devices, which integrate voice assistants like Google Assistant to control smart home devices, manage schedules and provide information.
According to Naidoo, the newly-hired teams are working on new products, business model innovations and developing technologies which incorporate edge computing to help the company capitalise on emerging and disruptive technology like artificial intelligence (AI).
“Our strategy has evolved and more than 39% of our revenue comes from non-PC products. We are a service-led organisation, with a focus on our three-year strategy. We are investing heavily in R&D to make sure the products we launch make their way to the South African market.”
Naidoo notes the first part of the three-year strategy is developing smarter internet of things, which includes creating products with smart technologies like AI.
The second part of the strategy is focused on smarter infrastructure to optimise municipal and smart city infrastructure.
“The last part of the strategy is focused on smarter verticals. This will bring Lenovo technologies into industries such as mining, retail and education, etc,” he concludes.