Back in October 2016, LeEco, the China-based smartphone and electronics firm, officially began business in the United States with a bang. LeEco began in 2004 as LeTV and rebranded as LeEco last year, the same year that they decied to buy Vizio (the TV maker) for 2 billion dollars. They had hyped their US launch for a month or so, before the big reveal on October 19th. Prior to that they bought a large 49-acre office complex in Santa Clara with plans to add 12,000 new employees to that Silicon Valley US headquarters.
Included in the launch were their own LeEco Android TVs (4), the LeTV U4 4K set-top box, the Le Pro 3 flagship phone, the Le S3 mid-tier phone, the LeEco Super Bike (an Android, totally connected bicycle), the LeEco Explore VR headset, a new video streaming service and the LeSee Pro, a self-driving electric concept car.
From the start, something deep inside me wondered if LeEco was over-reaching a bit. Like most techies, I was immediately attracted to the Le Pro 3 phone, but I held off purchasing, waiting to see what those who did buy it thought. It launched at $399 with quite respectable flagship specs and a number of You Tubers and big tech sites jumped on it. The overall opinion was that the Le Pro 3 was a very capable first offering and a device worth purchasing. I still held off, even though I could afford it and was attracted to the phone.
Within weeks of the launch event, rumors began surfacing of LeEco having financial woes. Those rumors and reports have only grown in the past months and now some hard facts have been revealed. LeEco has sold it’s 49-acre Silicon Valley site, cancelled the acquiring of Vizio and will reportedly let 175 of their 475 US employees go. Bloomberg reported that LeEco earned below $15 million in US revenue since their October event. With the company’s goal of $100 million in that time frame, one can easily see the reasoning behind the layoffs and re-strategizing.
Those that I’m aware of that bought LeEco phones and TVs have, for the most part, had positive experiences and are generally happy with the purchases. It seems that LeEco, while producing generally worthwhile products, has greatly overreached with somewhat ‘pie in the sky’ expectations of their impact in the US market.
I, for one, hope LeEco can regroup and develop a realistic American sales strategy that will place them on solid financial ground for the future. I think they would do well to look at ZTE, Huawei and OnePlus, as Chinese based companies that had some stumbles and began to figure it out. It remains to be seen if LeEco can do the same. At the moment, it doesn’t look good, but I wish them well.
Source: Android Authority
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