Lenovo upped the ante at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by announcing a slew of products from a multi-functional ThinkPad X1 Tablet with a built in projector and 3D camera to a the new Ideacentre 610S, a regular PC with a full-scale projector. The Chinese computing major said all these products will make it to Indian store shelves as well.
While Lenovo has been focussing on the smartphone segment in India and other geographies, its PC business still accounts for 69 per cent of the company’s $46 billion revenue making it the segment leader globally.
But Lenovo’s India managing director Rahul Agarwal admits the country remains a missed opportunity for the entire PC industry. In India PC penetration is still close to 10 per cent.
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“If you look at other comparable markets in terms of GDP and per capita income, PC penetration has been much higher. In India, it is not so much. The entire PC industry missed the mark on India,” said Rahul Agarwal in an interaction at CES.
The reason? “We’ve not been able to convince the middle class consumer that they need to buy a laptop or PC. We’ve seen that consumers prefer other durable goods like fridge, cars, etc,” he says.
The way to change that attitude, he says is to focus around education and make the PC more affordable. “If we can give families a PC at Rs 1,000 per month, if we can link it to education then it could drastically change the numbers. We at Lenovo are optimistic about the PC market in India,” adds Agarwal.
The growth of smartphones, he said, has meant that a lot more people are now using the Internet. “And we hope that the smartphone user will take to the PC, now that they have some experience of computing.” On the branded PC versus assembled PC battle in India, Agarwal says brands need to do better in tier II and III towns.
“We need to reach out to consumers who are in these towns. Spread the knowledge to them and show them the benefits of owning a branded PC. We need to go deeper into rural India, we need to provide better after sales to the people living here,” he said.
Agarwal also thinks gaming could be a big growth area in India, even if with niche audiences. Lenovo launched a full scale gaming laptop developed with Razer called Lenovo Ideapad Y 900 in Las Vegas. “Gaming is becoming big. In two to five years, you could see it grow much more in India and we want to offer something in that category as well,” says Agarwal.
On Lenovo and its new acquisition Motorola competing in the same smartphone market, Agarwal said for now the two would continue to function as they were as they are targeting different budget points. The company says smartphones account for 21 per cent of its total revenue.
The writer is in Las Vegas on the invitation of Lenovo India, which is paying for travel and accommodation.