Lenovo’s Yang talks about connectedness

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Lenovo’s Yang talks about connectedness

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Lenovo’s Chairman Yang Yuanqing takes a group selfie during Lenovo’s first global tech event held in Beijing in May. Liu is known to enjoy holding debates with employees every month on innovation. [LENOVO]

“Super-connected world” is what Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing envisions for the next 50 years, powered by high technology. In the same way that the development of personal computers made a big impact on people’s lives over the past 40 years, devices allowing for hyper-connectivity will be the next high-profile development, the Chinese CEO said. The world’s largest PC manufacturer is bracing for the era by experimenting with new technology beyond its core PC business including the so-called wearables.

The Lenovo Tech World event in May was a showcase for Yang’s vision as the tech company introduced a series of new products such as a streaming device and a phone with a built-in projector. The star of the event was the Magic View smartwatch concept, which lets users view an image 20 times larger through a second display.

The JoongAng Ilbo sat down with Yang to discuss the future direction of Lenovo and where the tech industry is headed.

Q. How do you define ‘super-connected world’?

A. [In the super-connected world], high speed wireless networks will be everywhere and virtually every device will be connected, sending, receiving and processing information all the time. To achieve this, we will make devices that will go beyond the limits of mankind. Lenovo is using resources to become a big player in the era to create and deliver new experiences.

What is the most crucial opportunity for global companies including yours for the next 50 years?

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It is difficult to see 50 years into the future. I think a trend that is only getting stronger and more important is the one toward smart connectivity - between people, between devices, between people and devices, and between people and content and services. Smart connectivity will dramatically change the daily lives of our customers - providing convenience, simplicity and personalization - across every kind of device, anywhere, anytime.

It seems that making the best hardware is not enough to survive in super-connected world. Are there other aspects that Lenovo is focused on?

We are already transforming ourselves to spur a new wave of growth for Lenovo in the coming years. First, from a product perspective, we will do more than simply make the best hardware and we will create a fusion of hardware, software and cloud service platforms, what we call 3-in-1 devices that deliver smart connectivity. Second, from a business model perspective, we will create multiple touch points to engage the people using our products. This will help us know our customer in new ways to better address their needs for connectivity and personalization.

Don’t you think that personalization is already happening now?

In the super-connected world, personalization will be intensified as centralized computing system and display information will fade. The manufacturing sector will also experience further personalization and customization. After we acquired Motorola Mobility we introduced the customization service called Moto Maker. Customers can customize their phones at the Moto Maker online design studio as they do with their personal computers.

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At the end of last year, you said the hyper growth of the Chinese smartphone market is ending. What is your next market challenge?

More than ever, customers look for the best overall experience from our devices and services. It’s an era of Internet Plus*, which has brought opportunities as well as disruptive changes to all traditional industries, such as finance, health care and education. At Lenovo, we are ready to transform ourselves from making mostly hardware to producing a combination of hardware and software services. This will spur a new wave of growth for Lenovo in the coming years as we focus on innovation to deliver the rewarding experiences that attract lifetime customers.

*Internet Plus is a concept presented by Premier Li Keqiang to describe a state where mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things are integrated with modern manufacturing.

You have a strong focus on innovation at Lenovo. What role will innovation play at Lenovo over the next 5 to10 years?

Innovation is in Lenovo’s DNA and helps us continuously improve and perfect our business. It’s not only in our products and technologies, but also present in all of our efforts from our strategy and execution to our business model. Last May, we held Lenovo Tech World, our first global technology event, in Beijing. This event showcased how much Lenovo has achieved and our ambitious plans for the future. I always say we have a formula for success - it starts with innovative devices and includes a clear strategy, operational excellence and a diverse global team and culture. Innovative devices are at the heart of our business - and we know that we must be the company that best balances innovation and efficiency in order to win in the long term.

What do you think is Lenovo’s intangible asset? What are strengths and weaknesses of it?

Our diverse global culture is definitely a significant competitive advantage. I think Lenovo is more diverse than almost any other multinational company. We have seven nationalities in our top 10 leaders, and about 20 in our top 100. With this diversity, we are also able to spark innovation and entrepreneurship. This is critical. Every employee should act as an owner and an entrepreneur. Everyone should feel they can be bold, take risks and pioneer new ideas. Lenovo is very focused on building a diverse, global and entrepreneurial culture.

BY KIM HYUN-YE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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