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Lenovo gets domestic with its manufacturing

Hardware vendor decides to build products in the U.S. and Canada

LAS VEGAS – While many U.S.-based vendors continue to manufacture their products in Taiwan and China, Chinese manufacturer Lenovo has announced it will start to make its notebook, tablet and server products in the USA.

Lenovo channel chief Chris Fry made that announcement in front of 200 mostly American channel partners at the VARnex Conference, held here, and got a big reaction. Fry added that Lenovo will begin manufacturing products in Greensboro, N.C. and has hired 115 people for this new plant.

Fry also went on to say that he wants to manufacture Lenovo products in Canada sometime in the future.

“We’re bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.A and in future into Canada. How many people are doing that from our industry? When you look at Lenovo products you can say this is an in-country made product,” Fry said.

Lenovo is on a roll in North America. Fry said that the company has reported 12 straight quarters of outgrowing the PC market and he credited the channel community for the majority of that success.

“Right now, if you look at market analysis we’re are No. 2, about a tenth of a point behind No. 1 HP. But I want to tell you it’s not about getting to No. 1. When we get to No. 1 I want to sustain the No. 1 position for a long time,” Fry said.

Fry also stressed to the group to not believe the hype that the PC is dead. “Do not let anyone convince you that the desktop is dead. It’s not dead. It’s actually growing in many areas.”

To incentive the channel to continue to have confidence in desktops, Fry announced that Lenovo will offer solution providers in VARnex 70 per cent off the new Lenovo Twist hybrid notebook/tablet. The incentive will last until the end of the year.

Fry has also tweaked the Lenovo SMB Partner Advantage program and will offer solution providers better financing for 60 days, incentive spiffs and rebates of up to $100 per system sold. And channel partners can now stack incentives and margins, such as the new customer bonus up to 20 per cent.

Lenovo has also upgraded its channel marketing portal as it cut down the number of channel programs from 27 to 10. Fry added that North American channel business increased from 65 per cent to 85 per cent overall from last year.

Another development at Lenovo is its partnership with EMC. Fry said the joint venture goes live in January and will bring the Iomega line of storage products to Lenovo SMB servers. Lenovo also acquired middleware developer Stoneware to improve security on Lenovo products.

“We’re in the secure client business and that is a part of the cloud that no one is talking about. The client has to be attached to the cloud. So we acquired Stoneware for securing the client so that it can access the cloud and be managed safely,” Fry said.