Corporation's Versa line up notebooks and its desktop offerings aren't very
well known outside of its home nation of Japan. But China's Lenovo Group
Limited is keenly interested in entering a partnership with the smaller
competitor in order to obtain a foothold in the Japanese market, according to a report in Reuters.
Reuters cites "two sources with direct knowledge of the
matter" as saying that a joint venture was in talks and could be imminent.
Lenovo is the world's fourth
largest maker of computers. In the U.S., however, it's not in
the top five (the top five in U.S. shipments are: HP, Dell,
Apple, Acer, and Toshiba).
The deal is made complicated by increasingly icy relations between Japan and
China stemming from China's cuts to rare earth metal exports, and other issues.
Still, the deal makes sense for both companies. NEC made 250
billion yen ($3 billion) from its PC business last year but has yet to crack
the top ten. Lenovo is a household name, but it lacks a foothold in the
Japanese market, and some of the features NEC offers.
Intellectual property and image is a key motivator to the growing trend of
Chinese companies investing in smaller Japanese ones, according to Fukoku
Capital management's CEO Yuuki Sakurai. He states, "[Chinese
companies invest in Japanese firms] so they won't be accused of stealing
their technologies. Because they have a great amount of money in their pockets
they are trying to see which companies are good for buying and I think this is
going to be a wide-ranging wave throughout Japanese industry."
The move could also allow the pair to cook up joint mobile phone products.
Lenovo's competitors HP, Dell, Apple, and Acer all have mobile phone offerings
released or in the works. One of NEC's core businesses is its