Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PC Cultivate Buyers in Rural China

Though difficult to penetrate, China's countryside is "probably still the world's most promising market" in terms of the number of people "who've never owned a PC before, who would like to own a PC and who have that capability," says David Wolf, CEO of Wolf Group Asia, a Beijing-based marketing strategy firm.

Gong Xiangnan, a 24-year-old migrant worker from Mengyin county in Shandong province, says she used the rural subsidy to recently buy her first PC, a Lenovo desktop for 3,000 yuan ($439).

Ms. Gong says many residents in her town took advantage of the subsidy, buying motorcycles, televisions, and other home appliances. "In our home, we already have refrigerator, TV, a washing machine," she says.

Lenovo, which is targeting rural customers with lower-cost computers and 700 new retail stores, has begun marketing computers as high-status betrothal gifts, which by tradition should appear as generous as possible.

Beijing-based Lenovo, which sold 28% of PCs in China in the first half according to IDC, is also using slogans such as, "Buy a Lenovo PC, Be a Happy Bride."

"They like to give desktop PCs because the boxes are large," says Li Zhong, director of Lenovo's consumer business in the Beijing and Hebei region. "They deliver the computers to brides' families on trucks, which everyone can see. In these cases the bigger the box, the better."

Curious difference: while some of us are obsessed with minituarization, they are obsessed with quite the opposite.

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