Lenovo is reportedly in talks with Japanese hardware company NEC regarding a joint venture in the PC business, according to the Wall Street Journal. Although it is unclear exactly what kind of partnership might be in the works, speculation suggests that the Chinese PC manufacturer will acquire a majority stake in NEC's wholly-owned unit NEC Personal Products in an effort to diversify its product offerings and expand its presence in Japan.

Currently Lenovo is the fourth largest PC vendor globally behind Acer, according IDC and Gartner numbers, with 9 to 10% of the market. But the company has little presence in Japan. Conversely, NEC's once substantial share of the global PC market has fallen dramatically in the last decade or so, but remains a market leader in its home country.

Neither company has confirmed or denied the rumors. According to Nikkei Business Daily, a deal with Lenovo is not expected to prevent current NEC systems from coming to market as scheduled. However, it would add to the trend of Chinese companies venturing into the Japanese market as well as Lenovo's ambitious global PC strategy. The company's shipments grew 37% in 2010, far exceeding the industry's average growth of 14%.