Getting interesting in China

China is high up in the business news headlines at the moment following the completion of IBM’s deal to sell its PC business to Lenovo, a Chinese computer manufacturer, for $1.75 billion.

Lenovo will become the world’s third-biggest PC maker, behind Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

Here’s an interesting commentary from John Patrick, former VP of internet technology at IBM, where he worked for thirty-five years:

There are a number of more subtle benefits to the deal that go beyond the initial numbers. One is increased presence in the China market. IBM has been operating successfully in China for many years and has thousands of customers and employees there, but now, with a strong "local" partner, they will be able to expand the relationships beyond the current base. Lenovo has a lot of experience in dealing with high volumes of products and, combining that with the world class research and development of IBM, Lenovo will be able to expand their capabilities and continue the innovation that has been a hallmark of IBM.

Next, there’s news that former US president Bill Clinton is helping launch Accoona, a new internet search company backed by the Chinese government, which says its technology uses artificial intelligence to produce better results than Google.

An eWeek article says that the Chinese government, one of several large backers, has granted Accoona a 20-year exclusive partnership with the China Daily Information Co., the government agency that runs an official Chinese and English website. The deal gives Accoona data on some 5 million Chinese companies, which Accoona sees as a lucrative opportunity as US businesses seek to do business in China ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, eWeek says.

Such developments bring to mind some posts written by French business CEO blogger Laurent Bazet which he posted in the CEO Bloggers’ Club in October, reflecting on his trip to China. A snippet:

I saw the waves. They were the waves of consumers crossing commercial streets in Beijing and Shanghai. They dream about the West. They buy L’Oreal, Gucci, McDonald’s, Nokia … In the end, they’re just like us, not better or worse. They’re consumers too.

4 thoughts on “Getting interesting in China

  1. Darren, this illustrates one of the extremely interesting things about China: the freedoms that we’re accustomed to in Western countries and which we see happening in Chinese cities (eg, per Laurent’s experiences in his visit) vs. continuing command-and-control by the political leaders, especially for reasons such as are the case in the example you give.
    What will happen when that country changes its political system?

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