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Lenovo now sells 1 in 4 PCs

The Chinese tech giant’s latest quarterly results show massive growth, and record market share

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Lenovo Group has revealed that its PC sales volume for the first quarter of 2019 outperformed market growth by 13% year-on-year, taking it to an all-time record PC market share globally of 24.9%.  This means one in every four PCs built in the world is a Lenovo PC.

The company announced group revenue in the first quarter reached US$12.5 billion, the eighth consecutive quarter of growth. Pre-tax income more than doubled year-on-year, growing by US$127 million to reach US$240 million. Net income also more than doubled, up US$85 million to US$162 million.

Basic earnings per share for the first quarter were 1.37 US cents or 10.74 HK cents.

“This quarter’s strong results provided solid evidence that Lenovo’s Intelligent Transformation is enabling the company to drive sustainable, profitable growth in today’s dynamic and changing world,” said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo Chairman and CEO. “Our persistent execution and operational efficiency allows us to bring our vision to life and deliver smarter technology for all.”

The first-quarter results signal that Lenovo continues to thrive – outperforming the market and leading the global tech sector in spite of industry-wide geopolitical and trade uncertainties.  

The strong results are led by the Intelligent Devices Group (IDG). The PC and Smart Devices Group (PCSD), one of its two business units, continued double-digit (12%) revenue growth while achieving its highest-ever profit in a fiscal first quarter, and further improving industry-leading profitability. Pre-tax income was US$524 million, up US$98 million.  Americas and Asia Pacific achieved 20% and 40% year-on-year revenue growth respectively and all four geographies (Americas, Asia Pacific, China, EMEA) each delivered over US$2 billion in revenue, demonstrating the geographical balance and sustainability of this business.

In PCs, volume outgrew the market, which as a whole is experiencing a recovery, by over 13 points, and the group hit an all-time record PC market share of 24.9%.  This means one in every four PCs built in the world is a Lenovo PC – cementing Lenovo’s position as the worldwide number one in PCs.

These strong results, says the company, are driven by innovation, a customer-centric product portfolio and continuing focus on operational excellence. This strategy enables the company to outgrow the market significantly across high-growth and premium categories including Workstation, Thin and Light, Visuals, Gaming PCs and Chromebook. Looking forward, the PC and Smart Device group will continue to drive premium-to-market growth and industry-leading profitability by focusing on premium segments as well as innovating in Smart IoT, commercial Smart IoT and developing new devices for homes and offices.

IDG’s second business unit, the Mobile Business Group (MBG), delivered another profitable quarter and improved pre-tax income by US$100 million for the 4th consecutive quarter. In the North America market, volume outgrew the market by more than 37 points and pre-tax income margin improved by over 14 points year-on-year. In the company’s Latin America stronghold, volume has grown with or above the market for 11 quarters.

The Data Center Group (DCG) continued to improve profitability year-on-year for the eighth consecutive quarter. Storage revenue grew more than 80% year-on-year and Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) continued to grow at a double-digit rate year-on-year. Overall revenue declined due to a small number of large cloud customers reducing their purchasing after rapid infrastructure growth over the past year and a lower average unit revenue due to declining component prices. In High Performance Computing the company extended the Number 1 position in the Top 500 Supercomputer list to 173 systems across 20 markets – continuing to support ground-breaking scientific research and applications around the world.

The company says it will continue to expand as a full stack Data Center player, driving SDI, storage, networking, HPC, AI, IoT, service and solution led sales while strengthening in-house design and manufacturing capability for Hyperscale.

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Millennials turning 40: NOW will you stop targeting them?

It’s one of the most overused terms in youth marketing, and probably the most inaccurate, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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One of the most irritating buzzwords embraced by marketers in recent years is the term “millennial”. Most are clueless about its true meaning, and use it as a supposedly cool synonym for “young adults”. The flaw in this targeting – and the word “flaw” here is like calling the Grand Canyon a trench – is that it utterly ignores the meaning of the term. “Millennials” are formally defined as anyone born from 1980 to 2000, meaning they have typically come of age after the dawn of the millennium, or during the 21st century.

Think about that for a moment. Next year, the millennial will be formally defined as anyone aged from 20 to 40. So here you have an entire advertising, marketing and public relations industry hanging onto a cool definition, while in effect arguing that 40-year-olds are youths who want the same thing as newly-minted university graduates or job entrants.

When the communications industry discovers just how embarrassing its glib use of the term really is, it will no doubt pivot – millennial-speak for “changing your business model when it proves to be a disaster, but you still appear to be cool” – to the next big thing in generational theory.

That next big thing is currently Generation Z, or people born after the turn of the century. It’s very convenient to lump them all together and claim they have a different set of values and expectations to those who went before. Allegedly, they are engaged in a quest for experience, compared to millennials – the 19-year-olds and 39-olds alike – supposedly all on a quest for relevance.

In reality, all are part of Generation #, latching onto the latest hashtag trend that sweeps social media, desperate to go viral if they are producers of social content, desperate to have caught onto the trend before their peers.

The irony is that marketers’ quest for cutting edge target markets is, in reality, a hangover from the days when there was no such thing as generational theory, and marketing was all about clearly defined target markets. In the era of big data and mass personalization, that idea seems rather quaint.

Indeed, according to Grant Lapping, managing director of DataCore Media, it no longer matters who brands think their target market is.

“The reason for this is simple: with the technology and data digital marketers have access to today, we no longer need to limit our potential target audience to a set of personas or segments derived through customer research. While this type of customer segmentation was – and remains – important for engagements across traditional above-the-line engagements in mass media, digital marketing gives us the tools we need to target customers on a far more granular and personalised level.

“Where customer research gives us an indication of who the audience is, data can tell us exactly what they want and how they may behave.”

Netflix, he points out, is an example of a company that is changing its industry by avoiding audience segmentation, once the holy grail of entertainment.

In other words, it understands that 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds are very different – but so is everyone in between.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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Robots coming to IFA

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Robotics is no longer about mechanical humanoids, but rather becoming an interface between man and machine. That is a key message being delivered at next month’s IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin. An entire hall will be devoted to IFA Next, which will not only offer a look into the future, but also show what form it will take.

The concepts are as varied as the exhibitors themselves. However, there are similarities in the various products, some more human than others, in the fascinating ways in which they establish a link between fun, learning and programming. In many cases, they are aimed at children and young people.

The following will be among the exhibitors making Hall 26 a must-visit:

Leju Robotics (Stand 115) from China is featuring what we all imagine a robot to be. The bipedal Aelos 1s can walk, dance and play football. And in carrying out all these actions it responds to spoken commands. But it also challenges young researchers to apply their creativity in programming it and teaching it new actions. And conversely, it also imparts scholastic knowledge.

Cubroid (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Korea starts off by promoting an independent approach to the way it deals with tasks. Multi-functional cubes, glowing as they play music, or equipped with a tiny rotating motor, join together like Lego pieces. Configuration and programming are thus combined, providing a basic idea of what constitutes artificial intelligence.

Spain is represented by Ebotics (Stand 218). This company is presenting an entire portfolio of building components, including the “Mint” educational program. The modular system explains about modern construction, programming and the entire field of robotics.

Elematec Corporation (Stand 208) from Japan is presenting the two-armed SCARA, which is not intended to deal with any tasks, but in particular to assist people with their work.

Everybot (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Japan approaches the concept of robotics by introducing an autonomous floor-cleaning machine, similar to a robot vacuum cleaner.

And Segway (Stand 222) is using a number of products to explain the modern approach to battery-powered locomotion.

IFA will take place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds (ExpoCenter City) from 6 to 11 September 2019. For more information, visit www.ifa-berlin.com

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