Lenovo CEO honored with Edison innovation award

Updated: 2014-05-02 06:48

By CHEN JIA in San Francisco (China Daily USA)

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Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo, was presented the Edison Achievement Award, the first person from Asia to receive one of America's leading innovation awards.

The award is given to corporate leaders who serve as an inspiration to future business leaders and innovators.

Joining Yang as a 2014 honoree was Elon Musk, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors and the CEO/CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX).

"The gene of innovation could be found in many Silicon Valley companies, and it could be found in Lenovo as well," Yang said on Wednesday night at a black-tie dinner at the Merchants Exchange Building in San Francisco where he and Musk were honored.

"We know the true innovation is not about the invention, it's about a system which can ensure continuously taking risk to develop technology and to define the new category of product," Yang said. "It must be part of your strategy, part of your business model and part of your corporate culture. So this is how we make innovation and keep our competitive advantage."

"We continue to innovate, this is the requirement of our customers, business partners, investors to us in the future," he said.

From the stage where he was given the award, Yang engaged in an interactive talk with the audience, which included Musk.

"I talked with you (Musk) two weeks ago, and I know I still owe you a Lenovo notebook. But I promise you will get it very soon," Yang said.

"I might have to become your Tesla customer very soon as well. But I want to come to you with a good treat so you could take a hundred of tablets…to make the deal even," he said.

Beijing-based Lenovo is a Chinese multinational computer-technology company with a US branch in Morrisville, North Carolina. In addition to being the world's No 1 PC maker, its products include tablet computers, smartphones, workstations, servers, electronic storage devices, IT management software and smart televisions.

Dr Paul Jacobs, the executive chairman of Qualcomm and a past Edison Award recipient, presented the award to Yang.

He said the Edison Achievement Award recognizes and celebrates Yang's contributions to human-centered design, the value and differentiation that he has created, the positive influence he has had on existing, new and emerging markets and the impact he has had on the world.

"He (Yang) runs an incredible organization and he is an incredible innovator himself," he said. "It's good to see Lenovo come to the high-end of the market."

Jacobs called Lenovo an incredible startup: the No 1 PC maker worldwide and with more $5 billion in acquisitions this year; the No 4 smartphone maker globally and No2 in China.

The Edison Awards are named after American inventor Thomas Alva Edison. Before he died in 1931, Edison patented 1,093 of his inventions, including the incandescent electric light bulb, microphone, telephone receiver, universal stock ticker, phonograph, storage battery, electric pen and mimeograph.

Nominees for the Edison Awards are judged by a panel of more than 3,000 leading professionals from the fields of product development, design, engineering, science, marketing and education based on their roles and influences in the industry.