Visa, Lenovo Forge Strategic Partnership to Drive Shared Olympic Success


(December 22, 2004, China) - Visa International and Lenovo, the leading personal computer brand in China and across Asia, today announced a five-year Strategic Partnership Agreement in Beijing, China.

The strategic partnership, which covers a five-year marketing alliance leading up to and beyond the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, was inspired by the unifying spirit of the Olympic Movement and draws on the clear strength and vast network of two leading Olympic sponsors and brands.

The agreement aims to enhance the brand and market leadership of both Visa and Lenovo, while jointly leveraging their relationship with the Olympic Movement. In coming months, Visa and Lenovo will unveil a series of joint-marketing initiatives beginning with the launch of the Visa-Lenovo Co-branded Credit Card and a Visa-branded Lenovo Corporate Card. Under the agreement, each party has committed to engage in joint programs aimed at increasing brand presence and preference for both entities.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Beijing, Thomas Shepard, Executive Vice President for Global Marketing Partnerships and Sponsorships, Visa International, said that the partnership is in line with Visa's long term strategy and philosophy of integration, partnership and collective benefit. Consistent with the Olympic motto of "Faster, Higher, Stronger," the strategic partnership seeks to leverage the industry leadership of Visa and Lenovo in offering an unparalleled experience of product excellence and payment convenience to Chinese consumers.

"The Olympic Games is an event that Visa has been closely associated with globally for close to two decades now. We are delighted to partner with Lenovo and use our association with the Olympic Games to the benefit of our customers. We believe that our strategic partnership will reinforce the spirit and excitement of one of the world's largest sporting and cultural events," Shepard added. "The Olympic Games, which are not restricted by any boundary are consistent with Visa's vision of universal commerce, where people and businesses converge anywhere, anytime, and any way they choose."

Ms. Wang Xiaoyan, Senior Vice President of Lenovo, said that the cooperation between Lenovo and Visa is based on a shared enthusiasm for the Olympic Movement and recognition of the Olympic spirit. The cooperation is an important step of Lenovo's Olympic marketing strategy. Lenovo will actively promote comprehensive cooperation with Olympic sponsors in the future. I believe our customers will gain richer experiences through more diversified technology products and services.

The cooperation will benefit both Lenovo and VISA consumers. Visa selected Lenovo as its first strategic partner due to Lenovo's powerful brand in China and its high quality products that are widely accepted and trusted by Chinese consumers. These factors are sure to help Visa provide better services to its Chinese consumers. As the leader in the global payment industry, Visa has a strong global brand image, an extensive banking network, advanced payment technologies, and a lot of Olympic marketing experiences. This will help Lenovo enhance its brand in a global platform and access to a broader customer base.

As an important event related to TOP programme partners, the signing ceremony drew a strong showing from China's Olympics related organisations. Ms. Li Hong from the International Olympic Committee and Mr. Xu Zengwu, Vice Director of the Marketing Development Department of the Beijing Organising Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad attended the ceremony. More than 100 domestic and international media came to the event as well.

Founded in 1984, Lenovo was the first company to introduce the home computer concept in the People's Republic of China, and since 1997 has been the leading PC brand in China and across Asia with annual revenues of approximately US$3 billion. In March 2004, Lenovo joined The Olympic Partner Program of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the first Chinese company to become the computer technology equipment partner of the IOC for the period from 2005 to 2008.

Visa is the world's leading payment organisation and a worldwide Olympic partner. Since 1986, it has been Visa's continuous endeavor to bring alive the pride and spirit of the Olympics to all its consumers.