Lenovo: Building A Global Brand

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In 1984, the same year that Compaq introduced a PC that included Intel’s new and more powerful 80386 class of microprocessors, beating IBM to market and Michael Dell began building IBM compatible computers in his college dormitory, Lenovo was form as a shop in a small concrete bungalow in Beijing with a mandate to commercialize the Academy’s research and use the proceeds to further computer science research.

Lenovo first original product was the Legend Chinese-character card in 1987, which translated English-language operating systems into Chinese. This also included a popular “association” feature that allowed users to form common Chinese phrases by typing in just a few Chinese characters. The Legend card was a piece of hardware that attached to PC motherboards, thereby saving valuable hard drive space.

By that time Lenovo was run by the name “New Technology Developer” (NTD).

By the time legend card popularity gave a boost to the PC distribution business and the firm won several new contracts, including one to distribute HP PCs in China in 1989, NTD was renamed Legend Computer Company. Legend Computer Company keep up their reputation by came up with their own brand PC and become pioneered the home computer in China, then turn into the world’s fifth-largest manufacturer of motherboards in 1995.

The company was focus more on different aspect from their competitors. In 1996, the company introduces its own laptop model and while competitors focused on providing new technologies for the business market, Legend designed desktops that the average Chinese consumer could use. The company soon became China’s PC market leader (21.5% share) and well known throughout the Asia-Pacific region in 1999.

However the intense in economic growth also increased domestic competitions which lead Legend to consider more on growing global opportunity. In 2004, the company found that the Legend name was already a registered trademark in several Western countries and searched for a new name to use outside China. The firm prepared for international expansion with the announcement of the new Lenovo name and logo. The name was easy to pronounce in many languages and available for brand registration in major markets while retaining the original Chinese name for use in the home market.

Lenovo in March 2004 joined the Olympic Partner Program, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) highest level worldwide marketing program. “Engaging the world” was the slogan Lenovo used at its IOC signing ceremony. Under the partnership agreement, Lenovo became the exclusive provider of computing equipment and services for the Turin Olympic Winter Games in 2006 and the Beijing Summer Olympic Games in 2008.

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