Lenovo takes aim at Apple and Samsung: “our mission is to surpass them”

by: Robert TriggsJanuary 31, 2014

Lenovo Brand 2014

Lenovo’s £2.91 billion acquisition of Motorola from Google is certainly the talking point of the week. Hot on the heels from a meeting with Motorola employees about the purchase, Lenovo’s CEO Yuanqing Yang discussed the deal and the company’s plans to compete in the smartphone market with Fortune Magazine yesterday. The interview sheds some much needed light on the deal, as well as what Lenovo has planned for Motorola.

It turns out that Lenovo was interested in acquiring Motorola all the way back in 2011, when Motorola initially split into two companies. Yang and Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, even discussed the prospect of Lenovo taking over Motorola’s hardware business when Google acquired the company back in 2012, which turns out to be the basis for the recent deal. Just two months ago, Google reinitiated contact with Lenovo to ask if they were still interested in Motorola, and now here we are.

The interview also confirmed one of our suspicions about why Lenovo was so interested in Motorola – the brand and access to Western markets.

Lenovo is already a big name in China, and other emerging countries, but the company’s focus on lower end products has so far kept it out of the U.S and Latin American smartphone markets. Lenovo aims to leverage the Motorola brand to branch out into the mid and premium tier market segments, which means that we’re very likely to see Motorola stick around in the west, but Lenovo also may make use of the brand in other markets.

We will fully leverage the Motorola brand in the U.S. and Latin America, just like we leveraged the ThinkPad brand in the PC space. Motorola will be our smartphone product. Yuanqing Yang

Following its acquisition of Motorola, Lenovo is setting its sights high, with a lofty sales target of 100 million smartphones by 2015. Yang even stated that the company’s “mission is to surpass” both Samsung and Apple.

I wish we could sell more than 100 million smartphones together in the year 2015. Yuanqing Yang

Despite the seemingly bold talk, we must remember that Lenovo finished in the top five smartphone developers in 2013, regarding the number of devices shipped. Lenovo is a company with substantial clout, even though it may not be a western household name like Samsung or Apple.

Smartphone Shipments 2012 to 2013Looking at the numbers, the 2015 100 million smartphone shipment target is fairly reasonable. Lenovo already almost doubled its handset shipments throughout 2013. The company was also the fastest growing manufacturer out of the top five, if this trend continues the company could be close to the 100 million target by the end of 2014. Not to mention that Motorola managed 10 million sales itself in 2013, and could act as Lenovo’s gateway to the much sought-after Western markets.

Of course challenging Apple and Samsung is another matter entirely. The two smartphone giants also saw decent growth figures in 2013, although Apple was by far the weakest of the top five. Catching them up is going to be a much more difficult and drawn out task.

Do you think that Lenovo and Motorola can challenge Apple’s and Samsung’s dominance, or has Lenovo spent $2.9 billion on a dead weight?

  • AA :P

    good. more competition, the better

  • Jaun Lombard

    dead weight…

    if its Chinese…I am not buying…

    • Mozaik

      your loss

    • MasterMuffin

      One of those guys again…

      • Guest

        So not buy, they don’t will lose anything with your stupid spirit, the majority products of your daily use, come from China.

      • Marco Lancaster

        So not buy, they don’t will lose anything with this stupid spirit, of they are chinese they have poor and bad quality, the majority products of your daily use, come from China.

        • MasterMuffin

          You replied to the wrong guy. Twice. Applauds :P

    • Luka Mlinar

      Wanna bet your phone is made in China? :D

      • Jaun Lombard

        It might be made in China but not developed…I am skeptical of software designed by the Chinese…

        • Luka Mlinar

          That’s kind of racist O.o

          • Arturo Raygoza


          • Luka Mlinar

            Saying Chinese people are unable to make quality products because they are Chinese. It’s a racial stereotype and therefore racist.

          • Arturo Raygoza

            China is a nationality not a race. its not racist to point out that that country has a bad track record of manufacturing products. if you think that’s racist then maybe you should examine why you see race in things others don’t.

          • Luka Mlinar

            Han Chinese is a race.
            Also he didn’t just point out that they got a bad track record. He said that because they got a bad track record; anything (with no exception) will be shit. It’s like me saying that since Americans have a bad track record at making good global decisions, there fore all of them must be stupid.

          • Arturo Raygoza

            I’m sorry, I had no idea America was a race lmao

        • Jason Yuen

          Yes that’s a touch of a broad generalization to make. There has been no empirical evidence to justify this paranoia. In fact, government investigations into companies like Huawei have turned up nothing. I’d think the reader demographics of this article are comfortable with flashing their own ROMs which should remove any lingering doubt. So the question becomes who you think has the best hardware and design. I gotta say Oppo is right up there with the rest of them in this category.

        • Schdeefan

          hardwarewise as said before: You will not buy anything from china
          (asia?): probably a good desicion since you will have way more time to
          take walks, write letters (by hand) and meet people in person, since
          your options of buying anything will be … compromised.

          if their tablets run Windows mobile, code is from MS wich is an
          American Company; if they run Android, code is from google which is ALSO
          an American company. Where exactly do you see the Software from chinese
          (appart from drivers etc) ?

          As for me, I am more concerned about
          mass data collection by intelligence organizations of their own citizens
          (and citizens around the world) without courtorder or even suspicion
          than about chinese manufacturos spying on their customers.

  • jason ritson

    good luck to them

  • A googler

    Lol yeah right

  • mtl

    The sale still has to pass by the competition bureau. Remember they blocked lenovo purchase of blackberry….

  • AnGeLFaCe77

    Motorola and Lenovo will destroy Samsung and Apple. Those companies sell so well because they are well stablish worldwide. Motorola has always been exclusive to USA and Verizon.

  • Valtheus

    At least they seem dead serious to build on whatever Google has started with Motorola.

    Maybe its good that Elvis left the building after all!

  • Lam Ng

    Currently using lenovo y410p laptop and tbh lenovo’s build quality is decent! Hope they do well in the mobile market as well!

  • moonlitemile

    I think i would still like to have a Moto X before they are all gone.Do you guy’s think $$ will go down? This would be my grab on the go phone.

  • Jayfeather787

    Well they are certainly ambitious. They have a long way to go, but hey. It’s worth a shot.