Motorola sales double in 2014 as the brand re-enters China

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Credit: Gigaom / Kevin Fitchard

Lenovo reported its earnings for the past quarter on Tuesday. During the quarter, the company officially completed its $2.91 billion acquisition of Motorola from Google.

Lenovo announced its smartphone brand sold over 10 million handsets in the most recent quarter. Sure, that pales against sales figures from giants like Apple and Samsung, but at least it’s going in the right direction.

When Lenovo and Motorola smartphone sales are combined, the company is one of the top five smartphone makers in the world, behind Apple and Samsung and in fierce competition with Huawei and LG.

Lenovo Group’s revenue includes laptop and desktop sales, in which Lenovo is the world market leader. Lenovo reported that total revenue was up 31 percent to $14.1 billion. But Lenovo has thin margins, around 2.8 percent, and managed a net profit of $253 million.

Motorola sales were up 118 percent to $1.9 billion. Lenovo once again confirmed that it plans to sell Motorola phones in China, and said it believes Motorola can become profitable in the next year.

Lenovo also completed its purchase of IBM’s server business for $2.1 billion in October.

More importantly, it appears that the Motorola brand resonates in massive and growing smartphone markets like China and India. Motorola announced Monday on Weibo that it had seen 1 million reservations for the decidedly high-end Moto X. In India, Motorola previously said it had sold 3 million smartphones last year, probably mostly the more affordable Moto E and Moto G models.

Google I/O Motorola Moto 360

Because Lenovo didn’t officially complete its acquisition of Motorola until the end of October, much of this success isn’t from Lenovo’s input — it most likely stems from decisions made while Motorola was a Google company, such as the decision to streamline and simplify its main product line under the Moto moniker. Motorola was the hardware partner for the Nexus 6, Google’s reference device for the latest version of Android. Motorola also produces one of the better-received Android Wear smartwatches, the Moto 360.

Lenovo is expected to announce a new smartphone brand in 2015 for China that will be sold directly to consumers online, following Xiaomi’s model.

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