What Impact Will Huawei’s Entry Into The PC Industry Have On Lenovo?
摘要： Fundamentally, the PC industry declined because PC manufacturers refused to bring out innovation and meet the increasing needs of consumers. So it is probable that Huawei is going to enter the PC industry with the mentality of a smartphone and tablet computer maker, launch a revolution over PC’s appearance and design together with Apple and Microsoft and challenge the role of those who have vested interests in this industry.
Recently, rumors spread a lot about Xiaomi and Huawei’s plan to make PCs. Since there isn’t any “reliable” clue that Huawei is going to make its own PCs, I become pretty curious why the media and insiders are all enthusiastic about Huawei’s plan in PC industry.
1. Why are the media and insiders all enthusiastic about Huawei’s plans to enter the PC industry?
Such rumor began to spread when someone found that Huawei was recruiting relevant personnel in PC business, registering the brand Matebook, and some we media owners revealed that their source in Huawei confirmed such plans. Even when there aren’t any “reliable” clues, it has become a hot-spot topic among both media organizations and we media recently.
One thing I am certain, however, is that Huawei won’t test the water by revealing clues of its new moves, as did many other Internet companies. Still, I am curious why Huawei didn’t officially deny such plan yet.
The other days, Caixin Media released an article on the difference between Huawei and Lenovo, in which the author seems to be in strong favor of Huawei. In reality, however, Huawei seems to be very cautious about its relationship with Lenovo, and is always conveying messages such as Lenovo and Huawei are not comparable.
In this article, I shall not put efforts in conforming the rumor. Instead, what I am interested is finding out why the media and insiders are all enthusiastic about Huawei’s possible new move in the PC industry.
When I did a survey among some of my acquaintances in the PC circle, for example, working in Intel, on whether they were satisfied with their laptops, I was surprised to find that most people were extremely unsatisfied with their “cumbersome” laptops, whether they were made by Lenovo, ThinkPad, Dell or HP (they couldn’t use Apple’s laptops since they were sometimes incompatible with their office work). Even so-called Super Laptops are merely a concept at least for now, and won’t be very much different from ordinary laptops
As a matter of fact, ordinary Chinese users have been pretty tired of the same appearance of all kinds of new laptop models for a decade, let alone people who work in media agencies. You don’t believe that? Well, please have a look at the audience in every new product release event of Lenovo, HP, or Dell, you would find that half of the audience are using Apple’s laptops.
Fundamentally, the reason why people in media agencies or we media owners are enthusiastic about Huawei’s and even Xiaomi’s plan to develop their own PCs is that they are tired of the inability of all kinds of PC brands to develop new models, so they are very eager to see other manufacturers willing to have a try and develop something really different.
2. Is Huawei really going to develop its own PCs?
Still, is Huawei really going to develop its own PCs or not?
Although Huawei registered the brand Matebook last year, we still don’t know if it is going to develop its own PCs, or it is just getting prepared to protect the brand of its tablet computers.
Thus, it is possible that Huawei is going to develop its own PCs. However, when I found a clue on January 14th, 2015, I began to doubt if Huawei was really going to do that.
On that day, I found a WeChat user titled “Huawei Consumer BG’s CEO Yu Chengdong commented on a piece of article “Huawei Is Certainly to Mass-Manufacture Its Own Laptop In April” issued by TouTiao’s Official Account, saying that:
“Huawei’s Matebook is certainly not going to be cheap. A high quality-price ration isn’t going to do any good to us, unless we choose to merely install different parts together and include no innovation.”
Although I am not 100% certain that this guy is Mr. Yu Chengdong himself, it is quite probable, judging from the tone. If this guy is exactly Mr. Yu, then he would reveal via this comment that Huawei won’t just install different part together and include no innovation, as did many other laptop makers, and that Huawei’s Matebook isn’t going to be cheap, and Huawei attempts to target the high-end market and challenge traditional PC makers.
An acquaintance of mine in Huawei also once admitted to me that Matebook was a brand for tablet computers.
Based on my understandings of Huawei, it is probable that Huawei is indeed going to develop a “computer” model, but one that is between a tablet computer and a laptop, just like Microsoft’s Surface Book and Surface Pro.
It occurred to me a piece of Weibo Mr. Yu posted in 2012, saying that his dream was to improve the efficiency of every employee in Huawei with a high-resolution tablet computer that can be turned into a super-thin laptop by just plugging it into a keyboard.
Huawei doesn’t have any plan to develop a new laptop model. Instead, it has been trying to develop a tablet for years.
As a matter of fact, it is probable that Huawei is going to develop something that is quasi-laptop and quasi- tablet computers, just like Microsoft’s Surface Book.
3. What impact will Huawei’s “PCs” have on the Chinese PC industry?
For two consecutive years, the PC industry seems to be declining, leading some manufacturers to believe that the PC market has been exhausted. However, I don’t think so.
Of course, the PC market has been to some degree saturated, but how can you explain that Apple’s laptops are still warmly accepted by the market amid the decline of the entire PC industry?
For a decade, the appearance of laptops hasn’t changed much, which is impossible in any other industry. Although Intel attempted to upgrade laptops a few years ago, laptop manufacturers refused to cooperate overtly or covertly since they have already been quite content with making easy money and are not comfortable with any change. That’s why Intel had attempted to develop a super laptop that is cheap, light and handy, but it turned out that all laptop manufacturers set the price of super laptops much higher than average.
As a matter of fact, the CPU’s computing power has surpassed everyday needs for years due to the upgrade of performance via Windows 8 and Windows10. However, the appearance and performance of a laptop didn’t change much for these years. Fundamentally, the PC industry declined because PC manufacturers refused to bring out innovation and meet the increasing needs of consumers.
Now that traditional PC manufacturers failed to meet the needs of consumers over the appearance, design of a laptop, Huawei has a golden chance to enter the PC industry and instill some innovation and change.
Although we can’t tell how Huawei’ new “computer” model is going to look like, we can see some clue from its tablet computers and smartphones. Huawei’s tablet computer M210, which is delicate-made, elegant in use and suits business people a great deal, looks just like a larger Mate 8 smartphone. If Huawei continued this kind of design when developing its new “computer” model, then it could be following the step of Apple’s Macbook. However, if it attempts to develop something similar to Microsoft’s Surface Pro, then it will have to first develop a keyboard that is handy and efficient in use.
It is still early to say what impact Huawei’s entry into the PC industry will have, but a computer that is similar to Macbook and Surface Pro, as light as Macbook, running Windows 10, user-friendly and efficient in use, and most importantly, made by Huawei, is certainly going to be an great alternative for consumers when purchasing new computers.
Huawei’s computer model is going to not only meet the needs of consumers on the efficiency, appearance design, but also have a high computing power. While traditional PC manufacturers can’t do these things, new entrants such as Huawei can, and they are the ones who are going to lead the entire industry to prosper again.
To wrap up, Huawei is going to enter the PC industry with the mentality of a smartphone and tablet computer maker, launch a revolution over PC’s appearance and design together with Apple and Microsoft and challenge the role of those who have vested interests in this industry.
4. What impact will Huawei’s new “PC” model have on Lenovo?
Now that Huawei’s PC is going to have a huge market, can it do a great job also in its PC business? After all, a good command of online retailing channels isn’t going to mean a great deal for manufacturers of high-end PCs.
Yang Yuanqing, the incumbent president of Lenovo, responded to reports on Huawei’s and Xiaomi’s attempts to enter the PC industry, saying that:
“Lenovo isn’t going to have two more competitors, since this market is highly changeable, and we don’t care if there is one more or one less competitor out there.”
“Lenovo is the most competitive PC maker in the world. We have not only an effective business model, but also a good command of retailing channels. So we are not afraid to compete with Xiaomi,” said he. Well, he’s speaking the truth.
As we can see from Mr. Yang’s comments, Lenovo’s advantage lies in its good command of the retailing channels. Different from the consumer electronic market, all Lenovo needs to do is maintain a good relationship with enterprises, not individual consumers.
But how about Huawei? Will Huawei be a challenge to Lenovo, when Huawei also has its own consumer electronics and enterprise electronics division?
I do admit that Lenovo has a great command of its retailing channels, and surpasses Dell and HP a great deal from this aspect.
However, Huawei managed to become the fourth largest server supplier in the world within 5 years, while Lenovo ranked the third by integrating its own resources and IBM’s.
As I have mentioned above, to succeed in the enterprise electronics market, a PC manufacturer has to keep a good relationship with enterprises.
While Lenovo has accumulated 5,000 long-term partners across China, Huawei has over 4,000 partners in great China region by 2015, and top 10 integrator producers are willing to cooperate with Huawei.
If Huawei aims to enter the high-end PC market, then it will have to reach high-end crowd of people and enterprises. Although Huawei still lagged behind Lenovo based on its existing retailing channels, the gap isn’t that huge.
In addition, if Huawei managed to keep its brand as a high-quality product maker on PCs, then it is probable that users who are unsatisfied with ThinkPad will shift to Huawei.
If I’m right, then it wouldn’t so much time for Huawei to be able to challenge Lenovo’s role and upgrade its entire business and expand its scales rapidly.
After all, PCs are much more easily for ordinary consumers to accept and get familiar with.
[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @Xiyu Daoke, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.