Lenovo Outsources Management And Celebrates Birthdays

Interesting article in the NYTimes on Lenovo outsourcing management to the folks at IBM (despite the fact that the division lost a few billion dollars in recent years.

The beginning of the article pretty much sums up the challenges that any company faces when expanding into new markets:

    “Inside the shimmering headquarters of the Lenovo Group, China’s largest computer maker, workers are carting birthday cakes over to three office cubicles.

    These days, every employee here gets a birthday gift, something a multinational company might be expected to do in this age of feel-good corporate management.

    The problem is that people in China do not traditionally celebrate birthdays. (NOTE: This is incorrect; see below)

    But that is changing. And so is Lenovo. It is trying to become a global company with its purchase of I.B.M’s personal computer business for $1.75 billion, and handing out birthday cakes is just part of the process of evolving into a multinational corporation.”

UPDATE: The NY Times Article is wrong
First of all, the Chinese do celebrate birthdays. I had given the article the benefit of the doubt by assuming the reporter was only referring to the lack of birthday celebrations within offices. However, that is a mistake as well. I just received an email from a former Lenovo employee who says that the company regularly celebrated birthdays in the office with birthday cakes. This was standard operating procedure long before IBM ever entered the picture.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.