IBM Puts The PC In Its Past

It seems like an astonishing triumph for a Chinese company: Lenovo, China's biggest computer maker, is buying the PC division of American icon IBM. Yet Lenovo's $1.75 billion purchase of the IBM division that makes the popular laptop and desktop machines is less an invasion of the West than an escape from the East. China's domestic market, although still booming, has become a competitive cauldron as foreign companies pour in.

Lenovo is one of a small but growing number of Chinese firms that are trying to ease profit pressure at home through global acquisitions. Guangdong-based TCL last year bought the television...