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Lenovo to double its R&D workforce to 12,000

Laptop giant to funnel increased profits into new IT architectures for edge computing

Red and white Lenovo signage on building

Lenovo has pledged to recruit 12,000 research and development (R&D) professionals over the next three years as the company looks to expand into cloud and edge computing. 

By reaching that target the company will double its current R&D staff numbers.

The Chinese laptop manufacturer brought in around 5,000 employees during the 2021/22 fiscal year to support research for new IT architectures of edge computing. The recruitment drive is part of a transformation strategy to move from a "devices company" to a global technology powerhouse that will include developing "services and solutions", according to Lenovo's CEO, Yuanquing Yang. 

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Its proposed R&D teams will work on new products and business models, developing edge computing technologies and other IT trends, such as the metaverse and heterogeneous computing, to help future proof the company. 

"My vision for Lenovo's innovation is to become one of the world's leading ICT companies, a pioneer and enabler of intelligent transformation," Yang said. "Client-Edge-Cloud-Network-Intelligence" architecture, with a three-track approach to focus on short, medium and long-term payback. Our intention is to optimise between technology with quick market returns and foundational research, and between continuous improvement and breakthrough innovation."

Heavy investments into R&D usually come from profit increases, particularly for tech companies that seek to keep ahead of emerging technologies. In the case of Lenovo, the announcement follows a sustained period of growth with an increase in laptop shipments throughout the pandemic. It brought in $640 million of net income for the third quarter, which is a 63% increase year-on-year. 

However, its expansion plans are also being tied to sustainability targets with a commitment to achieve net-zero by 2050. The company is partnering with the Science Based Target Initiative to establish a set of goals to support its strategy. The firm also reports that it exceeded its 2020 emissions reduction targets a whole year ahead of schedule. 

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