Lenovo Group launched a family of basic PCs last week intended for rural Chinese farmers, with prices starting at US$198.
The move is part of the company's three-year effort to grab greater market share in China by reaching beyond urban areas with low-cost PCs, a suite of agricultural software applications and a sales network of 5000 dealers in small towns, according to a statement by Chen Shaopeng, a senior vice president at Lenovo and president of its Greater China division.
Lenovo claims it has already sold four million computers to rural users through this "YuanMeng" campaign, a Chinese term meaning "to realize the dream of owning a PC."
Last week company executives gave much of the credit for their soaring quarterly profit to a 30 percent increase in PC shipments to domestic Chinese markets. Those sales helped push Lenovo to a $67.8 million profit for the quarter, a tenfold improvement over the same period last year.
Lenovo did not announce a product name or specifications for the new PCs, but said it would sell them for $198, $264, $330 and $396.
By setting prices so low, Lenovo is also sending a signal to competitors such as the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child project and chip-making giant Intel. Both companies have designed low-cost PCs designed for users in developing countries, including OLPC's XO laptop for $176 and Intel's Classmate for $225.