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HONG KONG, Oct 22 (Reuters) – Lenovo Group (0992.HK), the world’s No.4 personal computer maker, said on Wednesday it will cut 50 jobs at its U.S. headquarters by the end of 2008, as the global economic crisis overshadows the business outlook.

Global PC shipments grew a slower-than-expected 15.8 percent in the third quarter of this year as companies and consumers cut their IT spending and opted for low-cost computers, according to research firm IDC.

"We are continually assessing our business for optimal structure, driving for efficiency, and in light of unprecedented worldwide economic challenges, Lenovo is eliminating jobs in some locations between now and the end of the year, on a country by country basis," Lenovo said in a written reply to Reuters.

Lenovo, China’s largest PC maker, has 1,680 employees at its U.S. headquarters and 23,200 employees worldwide.

Last year, the company laid off 1,400 workers and moved jobs to emerging markets to better compete with bigger rivals Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N:), Dell (DELL.O) and Acer (2353.TW).

Shares in Lenovo were up 2 percent on Wednesday, outpacing a 6 percent slide in the benchmark Hang Seng Index .HSI.

Lenovo’s global PC shipments grew 7.7 percent in the third quarter of this year, well below analysts’ forecasts, and its global market share of 7.4 percent is the lowest for the September quarter since its acquisition of IBM’s (IBM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) PC arm in 2005, according to IDC.

Analysts say China’s biggest PC maker was mainly hit by its high exposure to enterprises and limited presence in consumer retail channels.

"In the overseas markes, Lenovo underperformed the market and was hurt by its high exposure to large enterprises, particularly in the U.S., Western Europe and Japan, and a lack of low-priced consumer notebooks," Cazenove analyst Zhao Xin said in a recent research note.

Dell said last month that slow demand had spread from the United States to Europe and Asia, and had not rebounded as expected after the summer lull. It has said it would realign its business to boost competitiveness, cut headcount, and invest in infrastructure and acquisitions. (Reporting by Joanne Chiu and Judy Hua; editing by Anne Marie Roantree)

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