The competition to bring computing power and communications technologies to developing economies and markets around the world is heating up, as Beijing-based Lenovo announces it plans to offer basic personal PCs to customers in China’s enormous (and underserved) rural market at prices from 1,499 to 2,999 yuan ($199 to $399 USD). The company did not reveal details of the machine’s processor, features, or configuration, but said the systems would ship with a keyboard and will be able to use a customer’s television as a monitor.
The move would increase Lenovo’s presence in the Chinese market, which market analysis firm Gartner says grew by 23 percent in the last quarter. Lenovo has been marketing starter PCs in the Chinese market since 2004, with an emphasis on educational applications.
Lenovo denies that its announcement is in response to Dell’s move earlier this year to market a low-cost PC in China—Lenovo sees Dell as a newcomer to the Chinese market, and something of a bit-player. “It’s a natural evolution. We are not responding to our competitors,” spokesperson Jay Chen told the Associated Press. “After three years of market development in low-tier markets we have gained experience and understanding.”
There’s no word on what operating system options Lenovo’s systems might embrace: Dell’s offerings sport Windows Vista Home Basic or Linux. Reports today have Microsoft cutting the price of Windows Vista in half for Chinese customers, so it’s possible Lenovo’s systems will offer Vista to rural Chinese computer users.
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