Ashton Kutcher Becomes Product Engineer for Chinese Tech Giant Lenovo

Ashton Kutcher
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Ashton Kutcher is often credited with helping brand Twitter into the micro-blogging phenomenon it is today. But in a surprising action, given his tech-evangelism, the actor-slash-investor in internet startups -- and future Steve Jobs impersonator -- abruptly relinquished control of his account to management after a tone-deaf post about legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Having learned his lesson, Kutcher -- or someone pretending to be him -- continues to crank out a continuous stream of (PR-friendly) tweets.

The actor and tech investor will collaborate with the world's biggest PC manufacturer on its Yoga line of tablets.

Lenovo Group, the world's biggest PC manufacturer and probably China's best known brand, has appointed Ashton Kutcher as product engineer on its Yoga line of tablet computers.

Kutcher will work with Lenovo's engineering teams worldwide and provide input and decision-making on design, specifications, software and usage scenarios, the company said in a statement.

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"This partnership with Lenovo brings together my love of technology and design that makes your life better," Kutcher enthused at a launch event at the Youtube Space LA. "I can't wait to dig in and help Lenovo develop future mobile computing products, starting with the Yoga Tablet."

China's big IT companies are showing an increased awareness of the power of Hollywood in giving visibility to their nascent brands.

A Lenovo ThinkPad Edge Plus laptop featured prominently as an Autobot named Brains in Paramount’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Lenovo probably has been the most progressive and has put China on the map in terms of IT as the world's No. 1 PC maker, ahead of competitors like HP, Dell and Acer.

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In quarterly figures released in August, Lenovo revealed that for the first time, it had sold more mobile devices than PCs.

"Lenovo is all about innovation and strong leadership. Entrepreneurship is part of their DNA, and I couldn't ask for a better fit," said the Two and a Half Men star.

He recently portrayed Steve Jobs in the movie Jobs, but Kutcher has genuine tech pedigree -- he is a co-founder of A-Grade Investments, which has provided venture capital and collaboration for multiple tech companies including Airbnb, Fab, Foursquare, Spotify, Path and Uber.

David Roman, chief marketing officer of Lenovo, said it was this "authentic, creative appetite for technology and keen consumer insight" that made the link with Lenovo "a powerful partnership."

"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 Roman.

VIDEO: 'Jobs': Ashton Kutcher Responds to Steve Wozniak's Criticism of Film

The Yoga Tablet features 18 hours of battery life and has three modes -- hold, tilt and stand --that allow people to more easily hold the tablet depending on whether they are reading, browsing the internet or watching movies.

Lenovo is a $34 billion company, originally called Legend and co-founded in 1984 by Liu Chuanzhi, a young engineer at the Computer Sciences Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing who is now known as the "godfather of the Chinese IT industry."

In late 2004 it bought IBM’s Personal Computing business for $1.25 billion, even though the IBM unit was four times bigger, a groundbreaking move for a Chinese company at the time.

It now has customers in more than 160 countries, is a global Fortune 500 company and has major research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina.