Thursday, April 26, 2018
Business

Computermaker Lenovo hires Ashton Kutcher to design, pitch tablets

SAN FRANCISCO — Computermaker Lenovo has hired tech-savvy actor Ashton Kutcher to help design and pitch its latest line of tablets, dubbing the Hollywood star a "product engineer" who can bring his ideas along with his image.

It's the latest tech foray for the Two and a Half Men performer, who recently starred in a biopic about Steve Jobs and has invested venture capital in more than a dozen Silicon Valley startup companies.

The deal was announced Tuesday at a Lenovo live-streamed event in Los Angeles. Lenovo's first video advertisements for the new Yoga Tablet feature Kutcher acting as a product tester in his boxers, a spacesuit and aboard an airplane.

The company said Kutcher will do more than just advertise.

"This partnership goes beyond traditional bounds by deeply integrating him into our organization as a product engineer as we look at developing the next wave of products," said Lenovo spokesman David Roman.

Kutcher — who in recent years has appeared in ads for snack chips and cameras — said of Lenovo, "Entrepreneurship is part of their DNA, and I couldn't ask for a better fit."

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Lenovo, with headquarters in Beijing and in Research Triangle Park, N.C., acquired IBM's computer business in 2005 and became the world's top PC-maker ahead of HP in the third quarter. But, like other manufacturers, it has struggled with waning consumer demand for desktop and laptop models.

It's one of several Asian tech companies seeking to loosen Apple's grip on China's tablet market with less expensive Android models.

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