Should we be afraid of Lenovo?


Should we be afraid of Lenovo?

Amidst the rising tension between China and the US, Lenovo Group, China’s largest PC vendor has acquired IBM’s x86-based server business for $2.3 billion. The acquisition comes almost a decade after Lenovo purchased IBM’s ThinkPad business for $1.75 billion. This latest deal, considered the biggest acquisition by Lenovo, is in line with IBM’s effort to shift its business to software and services. Gerry Smith, Lenovo’s President for North America, sees a “great marriage” that will leverage the strength of both companies. Critics, however, see them more as frenemies as the deal still needs to be cleared by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which protects national security. Sensitive acquisitions involving Chinese companies face the toughest scrutiny by the CFIUS.

So what are the implications of this deal on the American market? If the deal is cleared by the CFIUS, there is a chance that Lenovo may lose a great number of IBM customers in the US due to spying concerns, though that may be offset by growing its business in its home market China. The companies that stand to lose are HP and Dell, IBM’s old rivals in the server business, as they will now face new competition that will surely be more aggressive when it comes to pricing.

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