SA still has a lot to give, says Lenovo

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 30 Dec 2019

Although South Africa’s PC market suffered a decline in Q3 2019, Lenovo, the world’s biggest PC maker, sees lots of opportunities in the country.

So says Thibault Dousson, Lenovo Southern Africa general manager, in an e-mail interview with ITWeb recently.

Lenovo is a Chinese multinational technology company with headquarters in Beijing. It designs, develops, manufactures, and sells PCs, tablet computers, smartphones, workstations, servers, electronic storage devices, IT management software, and smart TVs.

According to market analyst firm IDC, the PC monitor market in SA showed declines over the third quarter of 2019.

IDC notes that the Middle East and Africa PC monitors market saw year-on-year growth of 7.2% in units and 3.2% in value during the third quarter of 2019 (Q3 2019).

The firm's Quarterly PC Monitors Tracker shows that overall shipments totalled 1.04 million units worth $160.55 million.

“The Middle East and Africa experienced a successful quarter despite the region’s second-largest market, South Africa, suffering declines,” says Nourhan Abdullah, a senior research analyst at IDC.

“The revival in the regional market was mainly spurred by a rapid recovery in Turkey as a result of the Lira stabilising against other currencies.”

According to Dousson, the market was slightly flat in the last four quarters of the year in SA.

“However, if you look at the last two years, shipments have been stable at around 400 000 units per quarter. In Southern Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Angola seem to be the biggest market opportunity right now,” he says.

Dousson says in Q2 FY19/20, Lenovo continued the fiscal year with a solid performance.

“Our revenue has been growing year-on-year for the ninth consecutive quarter and pre-tax income and net income have both been increasing. This is thanks to significant customer focus and overall acceleration of the company’s intelligent transformation strategy. The strong results show that Lenovo is not only thriving but leading the tech sector.”

He adds that in Europe, Middle East and Africa, the traditional PC market achieved stable growth in Q3/19, with both desktops and notebooks performing relatively well.

A strong pipeline of deals ahead of the ongoing Windows 10 transition continued to translate into commercial strength, offsetting the softness in the consumer market and the overall negative impact of the component shortage, says Dousson.

The traditional clam shell is still the preferred form factor in SA, he notes, pointing out that even though the multimodal form factor is still growing, Thin and Light are very popular.

“The tablet market is still sizable, even though there is a steady decline in volume. Detachable also has its place in the market.”

On challenges in the South African PC market, Dousson says the rand still plays a major role and its volatility makes it hard to manage Lenovo’s stock at a constant cost.

“South Africa is also facing some head winds which create a bit of uncertainty. Having said that, we can see that there is a major effort to angle the growth in the right direction, and Lenovo is positive about the future – South Africa still has a lot to give.

“Opportunities are everywhere really, from the consumer business and the growth of online business, as well as the growth of niche communities like gaming. The public sector still plays a major role in the IT spend in the country and the SME business has been very stable and is even growing. Some of the verticals we see potential education, as well as finance, which giving Lenovo a myriad of opportunities that we will be more than happy to go after. There are also many prospects in the SADC region.”

To grow the local business, Lenovo is going to carry on focusing on increasing its coverage and making sure that every reseller and channel partner has confidence in selling products and can be the custodians of the Lenovo brand, says Dousson.

“We are relentlessly finding new ways to impress our customers with our service and the quality of our products. We want to make sure people know that there is a Lenovo product for everyone that will satisfy every need.”