The relatively low penetration rates for computers makes the Middle East one of the most attractive markets for computer manufacturers. Lenovo, China’s largest personal computer (PC) manufacturer is planning to develop a strong presence in the Middle East.

“The Middle East region is a goldmine for us,” says Jack Lee, corporate vice-president of Middle East & Africa at Lenovo.

The company is investing profits from its Chinese businesses where it has a 32 per cent majority share in to the emerging markets and the region is set to benefit. “There are opportunities in the Middle East, but it is very spread out,” says Lee.

Lenovo’s strategy for the coming 18 months is to increase market share and drive growth in the region by 15-16 per cent, with the main focus on the GCC.

It will begin by targeting the UAE which currently has 2.5 million PCs. Lenovo has an 8 per cent market share in the UAE.

“Saudi Arabia will be big for us, but we are still young,” says Lee. The country has about a 3 million PC market size with Lenovo taking a 5 per cent share of the market.

“The rest of North Africa has a lot of potential, with a market size of 1 million-1.2 million PCs in total,” says Lee.  The average is about 400,000 PCs for each country. Egypt is one of the most exciting markets for Lenovo due to its large population. The recent revolution had an impact on first quarter results, with industry distributors fearing an impact on the next quarter as well due to the current uncertainty, but Lenovo has averaged an 8 per cent market share in the country throughout the turmoil.

This uncertainty has not had much impact on the rest of the region, according to Lee. “The main challenge is not the political instability, but finding the right people and good channel partners to distribute our products,” he says.