I am not usually one to chime in about political
matters, but I have been following the Lenovo-US Government debate for some
time. Last week we published an article with regard to the percentages of state shareholders in the company. As of June 2006,
the exact shareholder percentages (according to Lenovo internal documentation)
are as follows:
Legend Holdings, as many of us know, is the parent
company for Lenovo. 65% of Legend Holdings is owned by The Chinese
Academy of Sciences and the other 35% is owned by the Employee
Shareholding Society of Legend Holdings. Make no mistake, Legend Holdings
is a state owned enterprise (SOE). For all intents and purposes, the
Chinese Academy of Sciences -- a Chinese governmental office -- indirectly controls
27.3% of Lenovo through Legend Holdings.
That's not to say the Chinese government only controls 27.3% of Lenovo.
34.7% of Lenovo and 35% of Legend Holdings are held by private investors and
employees -- some of which are government officials.
Regardless, should the rest of the world be intimated by Lenovo?
Considering the company had revenue in 2005 of $13.3B USD with a net profit of
$309M USD, I'd say so. Am I worried about my Lenovo laptop containing an
electronic surveillance device that emails my passwords to the Chinese
government? Lenovo did more than $3B USD worth of business with the US
last year, and it would only take one incident of a bugged Lenovo product to
virtually wipe that number to zero overnight. Quite frankly, I think the Politburo
is more interested in driving BMWs than reading my email.