Lenovo, the world's No. 4 PC brand, says it plans to list on the Shanghai stock exchange when rules permit, opening an opportunity for the firm in one of the world's best performing stock markets.
The move would make sense for Hong Kong-listed Lenovo, since it developed in China and is one of the country's best-known brands, with about a third of the market.
I obviously would wish to list (in China) today, Wong Wai Ming, Lenovo's chief financial officer, said at the Reuters China Investment Summit.
Knowing Lenovo's market share in China, it makes a lot of sense and we would follow that issue very closely. We need to look at what the rules are, and what are the possible impacts on our operations.
Lenovo cannot list in China in its current form as Beijing forbids overseas-headquartered companies from listing on the Shanghai .SSEC or Shenzhen .SZSA1 stock exchanges.
The PC maker's headquarters is in North Carolina in the United States, having moved there in 2006 after completing its purchase of IBM's laptop PC arm.
But Beijing is in the process of changing the rules to allow foreign-headquartered companies to list in China, prompting a flood of overseas-headquartered companies that do major business in the market to say they would seek such a listing.
Separately, Wong said he expects Lenovo's operations in mature markets such as Western Europe and the United States to return to profitability by March 2010, as tech demand there picks up with the easing of the global downturn.
There is no reason for me to believe that we cannot return to a profit in mature markets by the end of the financial year, Wong said, in a reference to Lenovo's financial year that runs through March 31. We're working towards that, and are keeping in mind our other group objectives as well.
Much of Lenovo's losses in the past three reporting quarters have been due to its weakness in mature markets, and a recovery there would help the company return to profitability.
Many analysts and PC makers have been hopeful that Microsoft's launch of its next generation Windows 7 operating system will also help push up overall PC sales, but Wong was less optimistic about its prospects.
Many CFOs are especially sensitive to cost right now, and will not increase capital spending just because the economy seems to be doing better now, he said.
Wong's comments came as many of Lenovo's global peers such as Dell have said they are betting on a strong replacement cycle from 2010 as companies replace PCs that are still running on older versions of Windows.
In early August, Lenovo reported its third straight quarterly loss, but cut losses and exceeded market expectations, thanks to China's massive stimulus package, stabilising consumer demand and a slew of cost-cutting measures.
Investors have been optimistic on its turnaround story, with its shares up about 50 percent so far this year, compared with a roughly 35 percent advance on the benchmark Hang Seng index .HSI.
(Editing by Ken Wills)