WE'RE IN NEW YORK for Lenovo's second annual self-pat-on-the-back event, Transform 2.0.
We took the opportunity to ask the global CEO of the company, Yang Yuanqing, affectionately known around the office as ‘YY' a question that has been bugging us for a while.
After ZTE was brought to its knees recently by accusations of privacy violations and with Huawei facing bans from supplying sensitive areas in the US, Lenovo, the other really big Chinese player in the space, has had a fraction of the flack from certain quarters.
Why? They're all Chinese companies, aren't they?
YY's robust defence started in a way we didn't quite see coming:
"Lenovo is a global company" he explains, "We're not a Chinese company" (er… yeah, you kind of are, but go on).
"We have a global footprint - not just in sales and marketing, but we have R&D teams in China, US, Brazil, Germany. Also we have manufacturing operations in China, US, Brazil, Mexico."
But in fairness, that could be said for other companies too.
"Sith Lenovo, even the executives come from all over, we are very diversified and Chinese is just a part of that. Our current COO is from Italy, and we have Americans and Canadian executives for example.
"We're not just different to other Chinese companies, we're different from other multi-nationals."
YY added that there's no question of any funny business on his watch: "Whatever country we are in, we will always comply to global regulations. It's very important. Lenovo has built a trusted image in all countries where they do business. That's how we can avoid the attacks".
Of course, let's not forget that, less than a decade ago, Lenovo was very much in the spotlight. Its purchase of both the ThinkPad line and the x86 server businesses from IBM was caught up in a legal quagmire for well over a year, as not one, but both governments (US and China) weighed up whether they wanted to accept the risks of the matchup.
However, despite the odds, Lenovo has largely beaten the suspicions and is now, apparently, as American as Apple and Android Pie. Well, yee-ha to that. μ
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