Lenovo launches smart TV in China

Louise Duffy ©RapidTVNews | 09-05-2012

Lenovo has unveiled its 55" K91 smart TV in China, where smart TVs have been slow to catch on because of restrictions on content.

The K-series is Lenovo's first smart TV and the company decided to launch it on its home turf because it said it would be easier to negotiate content deals in China, Reuters reports.

"We been very busy this spring sowing seeds for the future," Lenovo's CEO and chairman Yang Yuanqing said during the launch. "Lenovo not only wants to be a leading PC vendor, it also wants to be a global leader in providing internet consumer devices."

Vincent Chen, an analyst at Yuanta Securities in Taipei, told Reuters: "For Lenovo, the smart TV is a good strategy for it to consolidate its market share in China. However, content will be the biggest obstacle for Lenovo's smart TVs to be sold outside of China."

Lenovo derived more than 40% of its total nine-month sales of $22 billion in 2011 from China.

The launch of its smart TVs will unlikely have an immediate boost on Lenovo's earnings in the short term as it is only being sold in China. But by 2015, smart TVs will make up about half of total TVs shipped globally, Lenovo executives said.

Lenovo's smart TV, which comes in four models with prices ranging from 6,499 yuan ($1,032) to 14,999 yuan, uses a Qualcomm Inc processor and runs Google Inc's Android 4.0 operating system. The company plans to start selling its smart TV this month at electronics retailer Suning's stores in nine cities: Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

The company is already selling a console that could be paired with the new smart TV. In April, the company's Eedoo unit launched the CT510 console that will compete with Microsoft Inc's XBox Kinect and Sony Corp's PlayStation.

However, Lenovo said its CT510 device is primarily an exercise and entertainment device since sales of so-called gaming consoles are banned in China.