As the ThinkPad gears up for its 20th anniversary later this year, Lenovo is planning to move some of the legendary laptop line's production back to Japan. The ThinkPad was initially developed by IBM's Yamato research laboratory in Japan and was manufactured in the country for many years after.
Lenovo moved its ThinkPad manufacturing lines to China last decade, but it's now doing a trial run at an existing NEC plant in Yamagata, Japan with the hope of moving to full-scale production in the future. "As a Japanese, I am glad to see the return to domestic production," says Akaemi Watanabe, Lenovo Japan president. He adds that his "goal is to realize full-scale production" at the plant, and that doing so would improve the company's image and "make the products more acceptable to Japanese customers."
"It will improve our image and make the products more acceptable to Japanese customers."
Currently, Lenovo takes 10 days to deliver products to Japanese customers from its Chinese factories, but by moving production back to Japan the company can cut that time in half. The decision mirrors that of HP, Lenovo's main competitor in the market, which in 2011 moved some production lines from China to Japan to reduce delivery times and "highlight quality."