Lenovo to step up in China by starting a new phone brand

Competition sometimes drives people to go to the extremes or do things that don't easily make sense. Although Lenovo is now the top dog when it comes to the PC manufacturing business, as far as the specific subset of smartphones and Chinese market is concerned, it is far from wresting the crown from King Xiaomi. That is why, in addition to its own Lenovo line of smartphones and the Motorola name that it just bought in the US, the company is planning to start yet another mobile phone company under a different brand.

They say if you can't beat them, join them. Or in this case, try to imitate what they're doing. A bit like Samsung, Xiaomi doesn't just make and sell devices. They sell an ecosystem, one that encompasses software, content, communities, and fan relations. Perhaps this is what Lenovo is trying to aim for by starting fresh with a brand that isn't tied to the company's old and already well-known name. Just like Xiaomi, that company will sell devices online and engage its customers more directly rather than through resellers or carriers. As to what that company's name would be, Lenovo isn't saying.

That said, it isn't bailing out on its own mobile devices. Lenovo plans to continue selling its own thing, particularly the Vibe brand that is only starting to take root recently, but through the traditional channels of carriers and resellers. As to its Motorola property, that acquisition has yet to be formally completed, which most likely prevents it from capitalizing on that name immediately. Motorola has lately becoming a darling in the US, especially now that its first Nexus device, the Nexus 6, has been announced. Whether that popularity will be able to stand up in China against a more established name is something still to be seen. Or perhaps we may never see in this case.

That is, of course, presuming that a totally unknown new brand will be able to stand up to Xiaomi as well, without calling on the clout of either Lenovo or Motorola. Common sense would tell that Lenovo might want to focus its strategies if it wants to compete more earnestly, but instead it is actually branching out to three mobile phone brands, depending on the target market. As to when this new company will launch, that date is scheduled for April 1 next year, not exactly the most convincing of dates.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal