The History of LeEco – Everything You Should Know
Leshi Internet Information & Technology, you might know it better as the Letv, which is now rebranded as the LeEco. Founded in 2004 by then-young entrepreneur, Jia Yueting, the LeEco is China’s one of the largest technology company, which is engaged in a myriad of businesses that spans from Internet TV, to video production and distribution, manufacturing smart gadgets such as phones and TVs.
Started as the video platform, LeEco group wants to disrupt not one or two but a lot of different industries, as they are looking to completely redefine the way people consume technology these days. The company employs more than 10,000 people, which is spread into its three regional Headquarters, Hong Kong, Los Angles and Silicon Valley. It has been listed as one of the fastest growing technology company in the world.
The brand recently rebranded as the LeEco, the idea behind the change of name and logo was that company wanted to bring a concept of Ecosystem products, which would allow them to hold a different kind of business. It all couple of years ago, when the company wanted to expand its horizon from video business. Content has always been king, and the company has pioneered that business since a long time, but it was their vision that forced them to move forward with the hardware manufacturing. Below we talk about their each business in brief.
Letv – Video Platform
When you first hear these words “Internet video stream”, tell me what word comes to your mind? Most probably the word would be Netflix. As it has become synonymous with the video streaming. But did you know, Letv launched its services for Internet TV three years before Netflix started that in 2007. In China, it is reported that company offers an extensive catalog of over 100,000 TV episodes and over 5000 film titles. These are not just in their local language, but include the content from Hollywood as well. Such as the latest TV Shows released in the United States, as well as Films. The service comes for a subscription amount, as well as has ad-supported options too. You can also select pay-per-view content. According to a statistics report, the streaming service has more than 50 Million users visiting every single day. Thus, valuing its market worth at an estimated 40 Billion Yuan, i.e., $6.43 Billion.
Le Mobiles, the company’s branch for smartphones, which they fancily call as Superphone, was first announced last year in the month of April. Within just one year of operations, the company has sold more than 5 millions of handsets, including all its models. While most popular handsets among them being the Le 1S. In their first announcement in the home country, the company launched three handsets named Le 1, Le 1 Pro and Le Max. Later, they also introduced an affordable mid-range handset called Le 1S, which turned out to be the most popular Superphone yet.
Jia Yueting said that customers who pay a 1,500 yuan (US$250) service fee for LeTV’s video-streaming and other services would be able get the handset for free.
Earlier this year in the United States, we saw company participating at CES for the announcement of the Le Max Pro, the first ever Snapdragon 820 powered smartphone, which later went on sale in China. The smartphone brand that entered into the Indian market in late January launched two Superphones, Le 1S and Le Max. As reported by company the combined handsets sales has crossed up to 200,000 units in just 30 days after the devices went on sales. The company has been selling handsets in India in partnership with Flipkart, which means their handsets are online exclusive. While in China, the company does all their sells via the Lemall venture, that is an e-commerce business of the LeEco group.
Recommended Read: LeTV Le Max Review
Other Portfolio – LeSEE, Super TV, Le Sports, Le Music, LeMall
Jia Yueting, the Chairman and CEO of the LeEco group, not just want to offer best video streaming and smartphones to the people across the world, but also have other disruptive products to offer as well. The list is quite long, including the Super TV, Le Music, Le Sports, Lemall and LeSEE ventures established in the past two years. The company has been focusing on building an ecosystem, where they can offer a combination of “Platform + Content +Terminal + Application” to its users.
Catering the music needs, the company already has a Bluetooth speaker and headset as well as other items on sale in China and other regions like the United States. The music company, which saw the appointment of Lei Zhenjian as the CEO have a plan to become Internet music technology brand that unites the music industry by offering an open level platform for music video producers.
Le Sports is another venture, where the company is trying to create some amazing technologies such as providing nine live streaming sports channel on one screen. Deeply integrated with video streaming service, users would also be able to see a sports match with different angles. This would be the first time, according to a company that such services would be implemented. It would make much sense for this when you’re watching on a large screen.
Talking about the large screen smart devices, the company also manufactures Super TV. In Hong Kong, the brand has introduced up to six models of the smart television. The flagship model being a 65-inch 4K TV. Following the unusual marketing strategy, the company wants to cash in its already huge user base of Internet TV and turn them into a Super, TV user. That’s why they offer a free Super TV when you get a two year’s video streaming subscription. After the huge success of X3 Series, the company recently announced X4 Series, which comprises two models, X4-50, and X4-50 Pro. These are the 50-inch smart TVs powered by Quad-core chipset, alongside the support of 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. They run on latest EUI 5.8 OS that is based on the Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Currently, in China, the company sells all of its hardware via LeMall website, which is their e-commerce venture. As per the reports last year, this online shopping platform saw a massive rise in traffic, which put this young e-commerce venture among the top online retailers such as Alibaba and JD.com. As commented by Mok Chui-tin, Chief Executive for Asia Pacific, LeEco, “LeMall has 20 million unique visors in a week, which makes us the third largest e-commerce site in China”. Being third largest for such a website is a huge deal, as companies in top have been in this business for a long time. Currently, the company sells its hardware including smartphones, set-top boxes, smart televisions, virtual reality headsets and many more accessories.
In a recently hosted event in Beijing at Le Sports Center Stadium, the company officially revealed the name for its autonomous car, which is LeSEE (Super Electric Ecosystem). It would be the venture exploring automobile technologies for future generation. According to the Founder, the company has been working towards their automobile aspirations. The brand has inked a deal with some Auto giants like Aston Martin. This partnership will yield an electric car named, RapidE, which will have an infotainment system like company has built for Aston Martin cars. No launch date has been set for the LeSEE, but the company aims to put this driverless concept car on roads soon. It is also reported that they are bankrolling a California-based EV startup, Faraday Future, which is currently building a $1 Billion factory in Nevada.
Scenario in India
After getting into India earlier this year in January with the launch of two handsets; Le 1s and Le Max, the company has sold more than 400,000 units of their Superphones in the country up until May 2nd, as per the data released by the company. The company is known for offering a large library of content in their home country and following that trend, they have partnered up with entertainment service providers like Yupp TV, Eros Now and Hungama to offer a myriad of entertainment services. A LeEco membership Supertainment package at a rate of Rs 499/month or Rs 4990/year has been created, where premium subscriptions for these three services would be offered on Le 1s Eco. It is the recently launched Superfone, Made for India. Starting with 100+ live channels that you can watch on YuppTV, you get 2000+ film titles across all regional languages. These Live and Le Vidi services would be available to existing Superphones users in the month of May only.
There are some measures taken to ensure the faster and seamless delivery of content to its users in India. That’s why the company has setup its in-house Cloud and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) in 10 cities across the country. This should ensure the minimum buffering time, thus delivering the best picture quality. Since the company has expertise in this area; we expect it to be a seamless experience.
There was an announcement of a partnership with Hungama, which will power the LeEco Music section on the Superphones. Hungama Music provides more than 3.5 Million tracks, which is offered in 25 languages. The consumers can create a personalized playlist with their favorite songs. According to the behavior, service will suggest content as well. The company will also provide more than 50 live online concerts from around the world. Though, this music service will be going online in the Q3 2016.
Atul Jain, COO of Smart Electronic Business, LeECo, revealed that company wants to be among top three smartphone brands in India. Competing with the likes of Samsung, Intex, and Micromax, as these three brands are currently the top sellers in the country. While it can be said that its toughest competition would be Xiaomi in terms of handset offering, as they are also an aggressive performer. The company has set up a 1000 member R & D center in Bangalore. This would help the company build technologies for its Indian audience.
Note: We will be updating this post as per any activities happening regarding the LeEco products in the country. We recommend you to bookmark this link if you’re interested to see updates.