By the Blouin News Technology staff

Lenovo takes piecemeal approach to African tech scene

by in Enterprise Tech.

A man walks past a Lenovo shop in a computer mall in Beijing.

A man walks past a Lenovo shop in a computer mall in Beijing. AFP/Getty Images/Peter Parks

Lenovo has been spending recent weeks establishing a more solidified approach to the personal computer and mobile markets in Africa and, as one of the world’s top PC makers, it is wise to make moves on the continent where the appetite for devices is gaining momentum. While Asian, European, and North American markets are already saturated with device makers, wireless providers, ISPs, and gadgets themselves, African countries are skimming the surface of the possibilities for the mobile scene. And Lenovo is looking into its opportunities country by country.

Because of each country’s varying network capabilities and spectrum coverage, computer and phone manufacturers and operators cannot perform large regional service deployments. But through private partnerships, foreign tech giants can make headway into Africa’s tech scene. Lenovo appears to be doing this by targeting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) who might not have the budgets for grand network expansion. Reports note that the China-based PC maker aims to expand its work and revenue with SMBs in Africa reaching 25% from 15% over the fiscal year.

Lenovo’s work in Nigeria also reflects this emphasis on forming small channel partnerships. In early March, representatives from Lenovo visited Nigeria to launch the Lenovo Partner Network program as part of an initiative to educate its partners on IT skills and other tech-based tools for network management. The reps, including Lenovo Africa’s General Manager Graham Braum, also visited Namibia, Kenya, and Ghana in a tour to “outline the company’s business and PC strategy in the continent” according to Braum’s statement. Such a visit is aptly timed as Google launched an exploration in Kenya into how to maximize use of Africa’s white spaces in late March – an attempt to figure out how to take advantage of available spectrum that could make for more low-cost internet services.

In a globally slumping PC market, where computer manufacturers struggle to maintain sales on hardware and chips, Lenovo might have figured out the way to stay afloat. Africa’s growing connectivity is ready for network penetration, and its hunger for inexpensive PCs and mobile devices – despite issues with wireless spectrum coverage – is only on the rise. With companies like Google delving into how to build out internet services in certain regions, it’s only a matter of time before ISPs can make a move for providing connectivity. More internet access naturally calls for a demand in computers – which is where Lenovo comes in.