Chinese company LeEco has seen good times and bad, though now the bad is what’s dominating headlines.
Recently, Vizio sued LeEco after its failed attempt at a $2 billion acquisition of the U.S. television maker.
CGTN’s Mark Niu looks at how the company’s U.S. strategy has only added to its credit crunch.
Last week, founder Jia Yueting resigned as chairman of the listed unit of LeEco – Leshi Internet & Information and Technology Corp. though he will remain chairman of the holding company. The shakeup comes after a Shanghai court froze more than $180 million worth of his assets and $2 billion in shares over missed interest payments.
April 2015 a launch event in San Francisco where representatives aren’t sure whether to call their company LE TV or Le TV.
Things would only get more confusing as founder YT Jia, who had previously compared Apple to Hitler, unveiled his grand vision to create “super” smartphones, tablets, TV’s, movies, a cloud service and electric cars.
“Moral of the story is don’t bite off more than you can chew. Amazon is a great example. Twenty plus years ago, let’s start with books. Grew from there. This particular case, LeEco had that grandiose vision and they tried to do everything too fast,”
Werner Goertz, research director for Gartner said.
In October 2016, at a glitzy event that imitates Apple’s style, the company, now named LeEco shows off its global products. But LeEco seeks to bypass U.S. mobile carriers by urging consumers to purchase their devices from their online store called LeMall.
More gaffes ensue at a press event at last year’s Comic-Con, where their Hollywood unit Le Vision Pictures introduces a special cosplay guest who didn’t come in costume because his props got stopped at immigration. Le Vision did announce a partnership with Dark Horse entertainment for a multi-picture deal – projects that have yet to materialize. The company’s only international movie release –The Great Wall-bombed at the box office, losing an estimated $75 million.
Jia is also the main backer of electric car company Faraday Future, where at this year’s Consumer Electronics show, he pushed a self-parking button on the new FF-91 and nothing happened. So far there’s been no date set on when the car will actually be delivered to buyers. The same goes for LeEco’s own LeSEE electric vehicle which was on display at its San Francisco event.
LeEco did hire top talent in Silicon Valley, ramping up staff here to several hundred people at one point. It even had plans for a campus called EcoWorld, where 12,000 employees would work. But as funds dried up, that idea disappeared, along with approximately 325 U.S. jobs that LeEco recently cut. What’s left now is a quiet office in San Jose, California that’s a mere shell of what could have been.
Ari Zoldan on LeEco’s future
For more on the future of LeEco CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke with Ari Zoldan, CEO of Quantum Media Group.