Liza Adnan I would like to introduce today's guest blogger, Masaru Kamikura, a computer journalist from All about who attended the IdeaPad announcement event which was held by Lenovo Japan in Tokyo on August 19, 2009. He shares his impression of the event and his thoughts about IdeaPad influence, challenges and growth opportunity in the Japanese market.
The Japanese computer market situation differs from the world wide market because here, the Japanese brands are very strong, while successful foreign consumer computer manufacturers are very few. Lenovo Japan as well as in the IBM era previously sold into the consumer computer market but had become mainstream for business for 10 years. In November 2008, the IdeaPad S10e net book was released into the consumer market. Then on August 19, 2009 a broader IdeaPad series announcement event was held in Tokyo. The announcement event confirmed that the new IdeaPad series are official and signal clearly Lenovo's intentions for the consumer market.
This time, IdeaPad U Series and IdeaPad Y Series have been added, and as Lenovo taps one of the largest consumer markets in the world, IdeaPad I believe it will gain full-scale momentum. Normally, support after purchase (Telephone counseling, support in case of failure) is very important when selling products into consumer market in Japan. Lenovo Japan also builds a support system to meet the sale of IdeaPad S10e differs for business and seems that the preparation is continuing consistently. In this announcement event, Roderick Lappin of Lenovo Japan President and Wei Jun, the Vice President of Idea Product Group Notebook Business Unit were explaining about Lenovo position in the world market, besides David Nicol, Corporate Officer of Consumer Business was explaining the position of each products and campaign launching and lastly Hiroyuki Kushida which is Lenovo Japan Consumer Product Business Manager was explaining about product outline.
A Guest speaker from Intel also described CULV (the official name of Japan Mobile Sub Notebook PC).
Lenovo ThinkPad which is developed in Japan is a popular model among high end users. I am a ThinkPad fan. However, even though ThinkPad has high quality and performance, price sensitivity is a concern, especially for the consumer market.
High-quality products are demanded in Japan, and the Japanese consumers are confident in the products produced by domestic manufacturers, so new product lines and systems made elsewhere face an additional challege. During the presentations, Lenovo shared how Yamato engineers and Lenovo China engineers share best practices and collaborate to ensure all the IdeaPas live up to the high quality expectations.
The keyboard quality is close to ThinkPad; APS (Active Protection System) that protects HDD which is also built-in ThinkPad, etc. are also equipped. One Key recovery system, Anti-virus features, etc. before starting up non-preloaded OS on ThinkPad also included, and low-priced products that have features which are close to ThinkPad have been introduced. About sales strategy - utilize ThinkPad high profile is the strategy to raise brand awareness because IdeaPad brand awareness is still low. This time, new investment in products that are thin and light like the IdeaPad U350, a rich Multimedia feature IdeaPad Y550, and larger LCD size than netbook IdeaPad S12.
If ThinkPad is a business tool so IdeaPad is as the ultimate entertainment computer. It is different with traditional advertising strategies for consumer goods; so that display in store is going to be strengthened in-store was announced. These IdeaPad series which are design obsessed products were demonstrated by a model photo session also held at the Lenovo Japan announcement event. Are lower price points enough to ensure success in the Japanese market? Here is what I think:
It must begin with recognition of brand name, and it is taking time that IdeaPad to be accepted as Chinese market. For Japan market, laptop computer share is high and there is a situation where the average selling price is also high. For the consumer, the better products become cheaper is welcome. The consumer always welcome products which is including support, etc. that is competitive domestic manufactures and offered from Lenovo, etc. which are highly competitive international companies. The domestic manufacturers also will come out with products to compete with it. Now, looking forward to what will become of the Japanese market in the future inclusive of Lenovo.