Lenovo reverses skid as high inventory gives way to AI-driven optimism in RTP

Lenovo, the world’s largest maker of personal computers and one of the biggest tech employers in the Triangle, increased revenue for the first time since late 2022, reversing declines that started following the peak of the pandemic.

Investors blamed excessive inventories built up during COVID for the company’s recent drops, as consumer demand for computers wavered. But Lenovo surprised this week when it announced 3% revenue growth year-over-year, led by strong performance in its storage and digital workspace services.

Based in Hong Kong, Lenovo opened its North American headquarters in Morrisville in 2006. While the company wouldn’t share local workforce figures, it told The News & Observer it has roughly 5,100 employees in the United States, with its largest base in North Carolina. According to a state Commerce Department database, Lenovo ranks as the No. 22 employer in Wake County.

The company is bullish on artificial intelligence, with Lenovo CEO Yuanquing Yang telling investors Thursday that AI server growth is double the growth of the general server market. Since 2020, Lenovo says it has risen from being the No. 6 artificial intelligence storage provider to No. 3.

Lenovo told investors its R&D expenses-to-revenue ratio is on pace to hit an all-time high this fiscal year.

While AI software like ChatGPT attracts more attention, Lenovo builds machines that inconspicuously run the artificial intelligence in settings like grocery stores and sports stadiums. As the technology advances, Lenovo expects more customers will seek out AI-native computers, stimulating revenue. The company is also introducing an AI professional service which it says will help employees work more securely and efficiently in hybrid work settings.

The company’s AI team is headquartered at the Research Triangle Park campus.

“All our server design comes from the RTP location,” Robert Daigle, Lenovo’s director of global AI business, told the N&O in the fall. “The engineers that are actually designing the systems are based here.”

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