China's Lenovo "to lay off 200 staff" in Beijing

HONG KONG Fri Jan 2, 2009 4:37am EST

HONG KONG Jan 2 (Reuters) - China's Lenovo Group (0992.HK), the world's No.4 personal computer maker, plans to lay off 200 employees at its headquarters in Beijing as it fights tough economic conditions, an influential Chinese magazine said.

Of those redundancies, only about 10 would be senior executives, Chinese-language Caijing magazine reported on its online edition, quoting unnamed company insiders.

Lenovo had also suspended hiring and planned to sack contractors at its factories, Caijing said.

Lenovo, which acquired IBM's (IBM.N) PC arm in 2005 for $1.25 billion, making it once a model for ambitious Chinese companies expanding abroad, is expected to announce a major restructuring plan on Jan. 8 including changes of its top management, Caijing reported, quoting unidentified sources.

Lenovo's head of Japan market had resigned, due partly to slow business growth in Japan, Caijing said, adding Japan and India were Lenovo's two focuses in the Asia-Pacific region.

Friday was a public holiday in China and company officials were not available for comment.

Last week, China Business News, an influential Chinese-language business daily, said Lenovo might merge its Greater China and Russia operations with its Asia-Pacific operations.

David Miller, president for the Asia Pacific region, is expected to resign and Chen Shaopeng, now president of the Greater China region, would head the merged operations, China Business News said.

Lenovo posted a 78 percent plunge in net profit to $23.44 million for the quarter ended in September, its worst performance since its acquisition of IBM's PC business in 2005.

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