When people talk about China’s tech scene, there are the obvious giants: Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent. Then there are the big state-linked firms (the telecoms, Huawei, and ZTE), the internet players (Sina, Qihoo), and the hot mobile startups (Xiaomi, OnePlus). But there’s a Chinese company that often doesn’t get mentioned as one of the big names: LeEco formerly LeTv.
Just a couple of years ago it primarily operated a streaming video site. But as its popularity grew, Letv (over 50 million daily users & over 730 million active monthly users) has rebranded into LeEco and branched its business out aggressively in numerous directions: it now operates 7 Ecosystems. The company now makes smartTV`s as well as smart phones and smart bikes. And a whole range of other smart devices and electronics. It has a cloud computing division. It offers internet finance products. It’s working on a smart electric car. It now has a music division (Le Music), a film division (LeVision Pictures), and a sports division (LeSports). What was once just an internet video company has branched out into a multi-armed technology and entertainment company.
Le Holdings and Its Seven Business Ecosystems
Recently, LeEco has been taking a different tack: splashing cash to acquire a wide variety of companies. In late spring, LeEco spent almost US$500 million buying two Chinese real estate companies so that it could expand into that space. Just a few weeks ago, it bought US TV maker Vizio for US$2 billion. This week, it was confirmed that the company has nabbed a bigger chunk of Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad. It was also confirmed recently that LeEco is working on some sort of deal with Netflix (at the end of last year Letv marked another milestone in its globalization - Le Super TVs started to be sold in the US). At present, Le Eco has been officially established in the US, India, and Hong Kong and the "Beijing-Los Angeles-Silicon Valley" strategy has proved hugely successful from its conception.
There are genuine questions about some of LeEco’s funding habits, and whether or not the company can sustain its breakneck pace of expansion that it has been keeping up over the past several years. But with a market cap of more than US$13 billion, LeEco is already bigger than some of China’s most storied internet and tech companies.
LeEco is both polarizing and opaque: some think the company is one of China’s most innovative and exciting tech firms, however until some of LeEco’s bigger projects – like that smart electric car come to fruition it will be difficult to judge whether their expansion has been thought out.
LeEco is now a major player in China’s tech scene, with the ability to influence industry sectors ranging from streaming video to smartphones to autonomous vehicles. LeEco certainly hasn’t overtaken any of China’s true giants – it’s not yet on the level of a Tencent or an Alibaba. But increasingly, it can be argued that LeEco deserves a spot at the table, and a place in the conversation.
LeMall is ranked among the top three B2C e-commerce websites in China