Lenovo chief executive revives BlackBerry takeover speculation

Lenovo chief executive Yang Yuanqing has revived speculation of a possible takeover of smartphone giant BlackBerry.

Yuanqing revived the takeover speculation during an interview with French magazine Les Echos (translated), in which he also discussed the Chinese electronics giant’s strong position in the PC market, along with ambitions for more market share in the smartphone and tablet market.

“Being the number one PC manufacturer represents a leadership performance, but we can’t be complacent. These are solid foundations, which should enable us to aim higher,” Yuanqing says.

As SmartCompany reported in December last year, Lenovo is third in the global connected device market – including  smartphones, tablets and PCs – behind Samsung (66.1 million units) and Apple (45.8 million units).

“If we include other connected devices such as tablets and smartphones, we are number three on the market, behind Samsung and Apple. This is a position we are prouder of than [our position in] the PC [market alone]. This proves that we are indeed capable of doing more. Our dream is, of course, one day to dominate the market.

“We are moving in stages. We are already number two in China. We have begun to expand in emerging countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam or Russia. We will soon set out to conquer the developed countries. Within one to two years, you will find Lenovo smartphones in France!

“As for BlackBerry, a takeover could possibly make sense. But first I have to analyse the market well and understand what is the exact weight of this company.”

In January, SmartCompany reported Lenovo’s chief financial officer, Wong Wai Ming, revealed the company is interested in purchasing BlackBerry’s hardware division and is currently turning a profit from its smartphone business in China.

“We are looking at all opportunities – RIM and many others. We’ll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders,” Wong said.

For its part, as SmartCompany reported in January, BlackBerry chief executive Thorsten Heins revealed the company is considering selling its hardware business following the launch of its next-generation BlackBerry 10 devices.

“There are several options, including the sale of the hardware production is as much as licensing our software” Heins says.

“But there is no reason for us to decide in haste. It is important, first of all, to successfully put BlackBerry 10 on the market. Then we shall see.”

As SmartCompany reported in June last year, the separation of the company is an option being investigated by RIM as part of a strategic review it is conducting with RBC and JP Morgan.

Meanwhile, in August last year, credible reports emerged that IBM was interested in purchasing the company’s enterprise messaging service should the BlackBerry 10 hardware fail to gain traction in the market.

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