Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Nov 4, 2016

Hello 'Moto': Lenovo gives up on selling smartphones under its own name

The company has also named new leadership for its mobile business.

Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo
Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo

BEIJING - Chinese PC giant Lenovo will no longer market phones under its own brand name 'Lenovo'; all future handsets will be 'Moto' phones.

The move seems to be an admission that the company's 2014 acquisition of Motorola Mobility hasn't panned out as hoped.

The company is also changing leadership of its smartphone business in China. Xudong Chen is moving from his role as co-president and SVP of the brand’s Mobile Business Group (MBG) in China and will be succeeded by Gina Qiao (乔健), formerly SVP of human resources.

Despite her HR title, Qiao has previously headed up marketing in China and for many years was also chief strategy officer for the company; this background and insight form the ideal skill set to manage the mobile business, according to Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo chairman and CEO.

The change at the helm of the smartphone arm is meant to enhance capacity in marketing within the mainland, explained Yang, who added that Lenovo's overseas smartphone performance has been better than China's.

Sales of Moto-branded and Lenovo-branded mobile devices for the second fiscal quarter 2016 were US$2 billion, down 12 percent year-over-year, in yesterday’s results announcement.

"Our mobile business had good quarter-to-quarter volume growth (20%) and margin improvement," Yang said, even if smartphone sales showed "only modest growth". PCs are still the core of Lenovo's business, accounting for 70% of total revenue per year.

In addition, Lenovo introduced three new executives: Kirk Skaugen joins from Intel as executive vice president (EVP) and president of data center group (DCG); Laura Quatela joins from Alcatel-Lucent as chief legal officer and SVP; and Yong Rui joins from Microsoft as chief technology officer and SVP.

These new executives are hired in the hope that the company will gradually transition from a hardware company into a "customer-oriented company focusing on devices with artificial intelligence and cloud services". 

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