Lenovo snaps up former Motorola employees

Updated: 2012-10-20 08:02

By Tuo Yannan (China Daily)

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Lenovo Group Ltd, China's largest PC maker, has taken on 40 former employees of rival Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc at its new Nanjing smartphone research and development center, and expects to take on double that number of former Motorola workers in the next six months.

Chen Wenhui vice-president of Lenovo and general manager of phone research and development, said the new Lenovo center will be the Chinese company's fourth R&D center after Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen. The original plan was to build the fourth center in Wuhan, Hubei province.

"But once we knew Motorola was going to lay off employees, we went to Nanjing immediately," Chen said.

Motorola Mobility announced in August it planned to cut about 4,000 jobs, or 20 percent of its labor force, with two-thirds of the losses outside the United States, including layoffs in China.

Lenovo already has around 1,000 employees working on smartphone research and development, and the company has said it will place greater emphasis on Google Inc's Android system development.

Lenovo snaps up former Motorola employees

The Nanjing center will mainly focus on overseas business development and smartphone technology research, but Chen added that taking on former Motorola talent will help it improve the company's overseas market research, because Motorola had many long-serving staff with wide overseas experience.

The Chinese company surpassed US-based IT giant Apple Inc in China's smartphone market in the second quarter of 2012, according to US-based IT research company International Data Corp.

IDC data showed Lenovo held an 11.74 percent market share, against Apple's 10.41 percent during the second quarter.

"A year ago, Lenovo's market share was only 1.14 percent in the Chinese smartphone market, but now it has become the industry's second-largest player," said Wang Jiping, a senior analyst with IDC.

According to Lenovo, the company sold about 6 million smartphones last year, and the aim is to sell 20 million this year in the Chinese market.

Chen added that employing former Motorola employees will play an important role in Lenovo's global expansion plan, which most recently saw it enter Indonesia in August, selling 20,000 of its S880 smartphones in the first week.

Chen said the company plans to enter four more overseas markets soon, including India and Russia.

China surpassed the United States to become the largest market for smartphones this year. The country is expected to see sales of 185 million smartphones in 2012, according to IDC.