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Even though Apple’s popular mobile devices, computers and accessories are manufactured in China, one CEO of a leading consumer electronics firm there thinks that Cupertino is “missing a huge opportunity” in the country -- but is thankful for it.
The Financial Times is reporting that Lenovo founder and chairman Liu Chuanzhi feels Apple, Inc. is “missing a huge opportunity” in the Chinese market, where Lenovo is the country’s leading maker of PCs. The company recently rebounded from a financial crisis, in large part due to their strength in China, where they hold a 30 percent market share on their home turf and is one of the fastest growing globally.
“We are lucky that Steve Jobs has such a bad temper and doesn’t care about China,” the executive proclaims. “If Apple were to spend the same effort on the Chinese consumer as we do, we would be in trouble.”
That doesn’t mean that Apple’s products aren’t equally desired by Chinese consumers, of course, but official retail channels for such products are “extremely limited.” For a country the size of China, Apple has only “a handful of flagship stores and authorized resellers in the country’s largest cities.”
Even the wildly popular iPhone, which is available on five different carriers across the pond in the U.K., is only available on one in China -- that being the country’s second-largest carrier, China Unicom. Sales there have been sluggish, in large part because black market devices from elsewhere are actually cheaper to obtain than the official ones.
Lenovo’s strength in China may not last forever -- Apple has already publicly stated that they view the Chinese market as “a major growth opportunity,” and a new Apple Store is opening in Shanghai this Saturday, with 25 more retail storefronts coming by the end of 2011.
Despite the fact that competitors like Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer are making great strides in the Chinese market, Lenovo’s Mr. Liu seems to suggest that Apple is defying such logic. “Steve Jobs is a genius,” Liu proclaims. “He is the exception to my rule.
“My theory is that a manager needs to be the string on which he puts one pearl after another,” the chairman explains. “But Jobs himself is a big pearl.”
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter