Lenovo's computers hit the high street in South Africa

Computing

Chinese computer company Lenovo is entering SA's crowded consumer market, hoping to win a sizeable chunk of the half-million notebooks and desktops bought by individuals each year.

The company bought out the computer business previously owned by IBM three years ago, and South Africa is among a slew of countries now receiving its first global models designed for consumers and small businesses. The range will be sold exclusively through Incredible Connection, because Lenovo wanted a national retailer that could also handle after-sales support.

So far Lenovo's business in SA has been confined to corporate buyers, where country manager Rashid Wally says it already holds a substantial slice of the market – 9.6% of notebooks and 6.5% of desktops.

Lenovo has grown its local presence from 25 people to 35 in the past three years, but has broadened its distribution channel considerably since taking over from IBM. "We have trebled our revenue in the commercial market," Wally said.

In the fourth quarter of last year, local sales of desktop computers shrank 5%, but Lenovo grew its sales a massive 60%. "It's our intention to make the same impression on consumers," Wally said.

Business Day