Lenovo may fly resellers to Beijing Games

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Australian resellers may soon be competing for a special once-in-a-lifetime prize being considered by major Olympic Games sponsor Lenovo -- a trip to Beijing to enjoy the next summer Olympiad in 2008.

Phil Cameron, channel manager at Lenovo, said the Chinese vendor was mulling a reseller initiative that would tie in with its sponsorship of both Olympic Games -- the next Winter Games in 2006 and Summer Games in 2008.

He said it was probable that prizes would include trips for its top-performing resellers to the Summer Games in Chinese capital Beijing. The winter Olympiad is being held in Turin, Italy.

"Resellers should start working hard now," he said. "Lenovo is sponsor for the next two Olympics. That will be massive."

Lenovo would start its marketing efforts around its sponsorship of the Games shortly. The company envisaged tying its brand into publicity around some of the teams, Cameron said.

As a heavily channel-focused vendor, Lenovo wanted to ensure that its channel benefited from the hype and endless promotions that would revolve in the leadup and during the Olympics, Cameron said.

The news follows Lenovo's recent outline of plans to enter Australian retail. Lenovo bought IBM's personal computing division late last year for US$1.75 billion.

Cameron said at the time that details on the overall and local sales strategy, including new channel initiatives and an altered partner program, would be worked out by around the last quarter of 2005.

"I would think probably at the start of the fourth quarter," he said.

The company planned a major product release in the fourth quarter that was likely to include many offerings brought across from Lenovo China or elsewhere, he said.

Resellers could look forward to a big marketing push starting around that time, Cameron said.

Mark Enzweiler, the newly appointed vice-president of worldwide channel strategy and sales at Lenovo, visited Australia this month as part of a global factfinding mission to help the vendor develop a new sales strategy.

Enzweiler said the biggest change would be a new focus on retail and consumer -- the lower end of the market in which Lenovo specialised. IBM had in recent years mainly focused on the enterprise, higher end of the business market, he pointed out.

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