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ThinkPad X300 launched
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The world's fourth largest computer maker Lenovo Group yesterday unveiled its notebook ThinkPad X300 in Beijing, aiming to regain the brand's past glory and fight off competitors.

"ThinkPad was believed to be the best notebook in the industry but many doubted the ability of a Chinese company to continue its tradition," said Yang Yuanqing, chairman of Lenovo Group.

"The launch of the new product has proved that we are capable of making breakthrough innovations and setting new standards for the industry."

Introduced first by IBM in 1992, ThinkPad went on to become the longest lasting design franchise in computing history and was lapped up by businesses and traveling users. Its sales reached 30 million by 2007.

In 2005, the brand, along with IBM's PC division, was sold to Lenovo as it was losing money.

Yang said that in the past three years, Lenovo has successfully increased the annual revenue of IBM's previous loss-making business from $3 billion to $17 billion and has nearly tripled its profits.

But Lenovo has still been under pressure to prove its ability to release innovative products like IBM.

Lenovo hopes the new product will help the company regain ThinkPad's reputation and help it compete with HP, Dell, Acer and Apple.

On Jan 15, Apple's CEO Steve Jobs released the world's slimmest notebook MacBook Air by pulling it out of an envelope. According to a report from BusinessWeek, that surprised Peter Hortensius, Lenovo's vice-president in charge of laptops, who found out to his relief that the X300 would also fit in an envelope.

"Thinness is only one part of innovation and we don't think it should be an excuse to sacrifice other aspects," said Yi Xiaohui, vice-president and general manager of the notebook PC marketing department of Lenovo China at the product's launch in Beijing yesterday.

According to Lenovo's third-quarter result ended January, its revenue reached $4.6 billion, an increase of 15 percent over the same quarter of 2006. The company's notebook shipments grew 38 percent year-on-year and sales reached $2.6 billion, accounting for 56 percent of the total sales.

Last month, Lenovo offloaded its loss-making mobile phone business, facing increasing competition from Taipei-based Acer Inc that overtook Lenovo as the world's third largest computer maker in the three months ended December after acquiring the US's Gateway Inc, according to research firm IDC.

(China Daily March 19, 2008)

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