Friday, July 11, 2008

Intel and Lenovo Target SMEs with a Simple “Open Sesame”

Intel and, an English-language global trade website based in China, announced a partnership with Lenovo Group this week to launch a PC designed to make e-commerce easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China. The desktop PCs, due out in September, will be preloaded with’s e-commerce applications for SMEs. Intel and announced their original partnership in May but have been searching for a manufacturing partner.

E-business is not yet widespread in China. With less than 1% of China’s 42 million SMEs conducting business online, there is still sizable room for growth. In emerging markets, an estimated 69% of the labor force works in micro-, small- or medium-sized businesses making SMEs a key market segment for ICT companies seeking growth opportunities. Intel and Lenovo’s focus on this market is a clear indicator of the industry’s effort to better pursue this still amorphous segment. To date, multinational corporations (MNCs) have made limited product modifications to target SMEs in developing countries. This three-way partnership strategy - embedding e-commerce applications into new hardware and pairing an MNC solution with local content and brands - may be a solid step towards tapping into China’s SME treasure.

For other MNCs seeking to crack the SME code, Lenovo’s new PC could help draw out a sub-segment of China’s market, the most technologically savvy SMEs interested in growing their business online. This small, forward-thinking group of companies makes a worthy beachhead target for nearly any technology firm interested in capturing China’s growing markets.

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