14/01/2015 12:19 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST

New Lenovo Unit ‘Shenqi' Will Focus On Online Sales, Smartphones and IoT Devices

Bloomberg via Getty Images
Yang Yuanqing, chairman and chief executive officer of Lenovo Group Ltd., speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Lenovo, the world's largest maker of personal computers, reported a 25 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit as its desktop models and mobile devices gained global market share. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Lenovo plans to take its new device unit ‘Shenqi’ public after it starts selling smartphones and internet connected home devices in April, according to a new report from Bloomberg.

Shenqi will begin selling smartphones and Internet-connected devices on an online-only direct-to-consumer business model. The new business unit could be worth a “couple of billion dollars”, said Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing. The new unit will acquire and invest in tech startups focused on app and software development, and will raise money from capital markets, he added.

Lenovo had announced plans for the company in October. The move is aimed at its rival Xiaomi, which raised $1.1 billion in funding late last year at a valuation of $45 billion late last year, three times the market capitalisation of Lenovo Group.

Xiaomi India's 2015 plans include setting up 100 service centres this year, an R&D centre in Bangalore, and starting their own e-commerce operations in India. They will also be expanding their offerings beyond smartphones to health fitness trackers and smart television sets.

Lenovo launched the A6000 smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show last week in Las Vegas. The A6000 is expected to carry an aggressive price tag of under Rs. 10,000, and will be sold exclusively via online retailer Flipkart in India on January 16th, Tech2 reported.

Lenovo is not the only handset maker to have taken a leaf from Xiaomi's playbook - India’s mobile handset maker Micromax announced their online-only brand in December 2014. Their first Yu-branded offering, the Yureka went on sale yesterday on Amazon. The company claimed sales of 10,000 units in 3 seconds.