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.