Chinese computer giant Lenovo is planning on opening a new North American plant in North Carolina, near where its United States headquarters lie. It’s not the first such facility on this continent, as the company manufacturers a number of the desktops targeted at this region just across the border in Mexico.
It’s a bold move for the up and coming PC maker, who took the world’s 2nd place ranking for computer shipments recently, from U.S.-based Dell. That ranking falls to fourth (8%) here in the United States, behind HP (25.9%), Dell (22.5%), and Apple (11.4%).
Located near Raleigh, Lenovo aims to use the new production center in two very important ways. First, it’ll heighten the company’s ability to respond to the custom orders requested by large enterprise customers. Being able to respond to such requests from within the same market substantially improves the manufacturer’s agility, cutting down on product turnaround.
Secondly, and perhaps just as importantly, the move serves to strengthen Lenovo’s brand presence and identity in the U.S., which is the world’s second largest computer market behind China. In addition to reducing the ecological footprint of some of their products, which appeals to some customers, having an American production facility sets them apart from every other major computer manufacturer.
It’s only once you go to second or third tier manufacturers, such as AVA Direct, do you find much American production. None of the others – Dell, HP, Apple, Acer, Asus, and the rest – have a U.S.-based plant. Despite the higher costs associated with labor and production, Lenovo is betting that these two factors will more than make up for it.
According to the WSJ, Lenovo is planning to push this strategy of production localization to every market that makes sense.
It’s a bold move for Lenovo, a company which has exhibited substantial creativity and ingenuity in terms of product offering over the last couple of years. In an attempt to outwit a stagnant desktop market, the PC maker has invested heavily into all-in-one and small form factor designs, with a net result of winning marketshare in those categories.
It will be curious to see whether this new move is as successful, and, if it is, whether HP or Dell will follow up with U.S.-based production lines of their own.