BOSTON (Reuters) - Lenovo Group Ltd. <0992.HK>, the world's No. 3 PC maker, will soon start selling low-priced computers targeted at small U.S. businesses, taking the Lenovo brand outside China for the first time, said an analyst familiar with the matter.
Lenovo, which last year bought IBM's ailing PC business, plans to introduce a line of notebooks and desktops using processors from both Intel Corp. <INTC.O> and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.<AMD.N>, said Roger Kay, president of market researcher Endpoint Technologies Associates.
The new 3000 Series notebooks will be priced starting at $599, with low-end desktops going for $349, said Kay.
Company officials briefed him on their plans, which they plan to unveil at a news conference on Thursday. Computer companies frequently provide such previews to industry analysts.
A Lenovo spokeswoman declined comment.
Lenovo's senior vice president, Peter Hortensius, told Reuters in January that the company was gearing up for a major global push for its notebook PCs to begin around the 2006 winter Olympics in Italy.
The company supplied more than 6,000 computers to help run the Games. It's also running Olympics marketing campaigns around the world, giving consumers outside of China their first major exposure to the Lenovo brand.
Lenovo is China's biggest PC maker. It already sells computers in the United States under the ThinkPad and ThinkCentre brands, which it got as part of its May 2005 acquisition of the PC division of International Business Machines Corp. <IBM.N>.
The bulk of Lenovo's U.S. sales are to large corporations, long the target market for IBM's PCs.
"This new line is targeted at segments that have been underserved before - in particular the small business," Kay said.
The U.S. expansion could help Lenovo at a time when it's under pressure to improve earnings.
Lenovo's results fell short of investors' expectations in its most recent quarter due to disappointing sales in Japan and other Asian countries outside of its home market, China.