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Lenovo is convinced its latest smartphone, LePhone, will be a success in the Chinese market and will give Applie’s iPhon a run for its money.

Chairman of Lenovo, Liu Chuanzhi, was quoted by as saying he is convinced of LePhone’s success in China. He said LePhone’s domestic content suppliers are the key ‘weapon’ to competing with the iPhone in China.

LePhone is customised for Chinese users and has received strong support from top domestic service and content suppliers, including Baidu Inc, Alibaba Group and Tencent Inc, Liu, 66, said in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

Based on Google Inc’s Android operating system, the first version of LePhone, running on the third-generation (3G) standard WCDMA, which is used by China Unicom, will be available in stores from May 17.

Lenovo is also working on several versions of LePhone for China’s other two 3G standards – CDMA2000 by China Telecom and homegrown TD-SCDMA by China Mobile, which will enter the market gradually, Liu, who is also founder of Lenovo, told ChinaDaily.

Lenovo will also launch other models of the phone with modified functions, designs and business models after conducting large-scale surveys of market response and consumer acceptance, the report said.

Spurred by a boom in 3G mobile services, China’s mobile internet users increased 120 million to 233 million at the end of 2009 year-on-year, accounting for 60.8% of the nation’s internet users, according to China Internet Network Information Center.

The mobile internet device market will overtake traditional PCs in the next 5 years, according to Yang Yuanqing, chief executive of Lenovo Group.

Lenovo sold its mobile phone unit to focus on its core PC business in March 2008, and then paid US$200 million (NZ$278 million) to buy it back last November as part of its aim to become China’s market leader in mobile Internet devices.

Lenovo now is working with over 500 content developers on its new application download store, in which some 200 suppliers have designed their products specifically for LePhone, according to the company.

“People can easily shop at, Alibaba Group’s online auction site or watch TV programs anywhere as long as they have a LePhone in hand,” Liu was quoted as saying. “I believe 70% to 80% of Chinese mobile phone users will love our LePhone, because it is really convenient.”


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