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Lenovo CEO talks up plans for U.S. smartphone launch in next 12 months

lenovo-logoLenovo’s CEO Yang Yuanqing has spoken about his ambitious plans to launch a range of smartphones in the U.S., something which it hopes to do over the coming 12 months, despite the enormous competition which already exists on the market.

“Smartphones are our new opportunity,” Yang told the Wall Street Journal, adding he feels it’s important for a public company to always look at new ways to encourage growth. Lenovo may be best known for its laptops outside of China, but it’s recently become the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the country, a position which prompted Yang to consider further international expansion.

In 2011, analysts at IDC put Lenovo’s share of the Chinese smartphone market at just over 4 percent, but come the end of 2012, this figure had risen to 11 percent, and the company is now second only to Samsung. Lenovo already sells its phones in important emerging markets such as India and Indonesia – efforts which at the end of 2013, saw it become a top five contender in the worldwide smartphone manufacturer charts – but it’s going to face a far harder challenge if it wants a degree of success in the U.S.

The massive Lenovo K900, which recently went on sale in China following its CES 2013 launch, is an example of the hardware which the company could use to spearhead its U.S. campaign. It’s a powerful, attractive device with a suitably impressive spec sheet, however Intel powered phones have struggled to find buyers, and it doesn’t really offer anything more than the far better known Galaxy S4, Xperia Z and HTC One. Without products which really stands out, the little-known Lenovo name could struggle to break into the smartphone mainstream.

Yang knows good marketing is important, but we think it’ll need a little more than that it wants to overcome the hurdle of recognition in America and beyond. It’s early days yet though, and it’s not clear if the company is speaking to networks yet, or even if it’s planning a late 2013 or early 2014 launch. Now we get to wait and see if Lenovo’s bold plan becomes a reality.

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