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October 21, 2016

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LeEco sets out to make waves in US

MOST US consumers haven’t heard of LeEco, but the Chinese technology company is setting out to become a household name with smartphones and flat-screen TVs that undercut the prices of Apple, Google, Samsung and other industry stalwarts.

LeEco heralded its entrance into the US market when the company unveiled its smartphone, TV, online video service and online store on Wednesday in San Francisco.

From November, US consumers are able to purchase LeEco’s new products, including its 85-inch super high-definition TVs, smartphones with Qualcomm’s latest processor and a bike running on the Android system.

LeEco, which stands for “happy ecosystem,” is branching out to challenge technology leaders who have been able to demand a premium for their products partly because they have been pleasing US consumers for years.

It sounds “crazy” to compete with Apple, Amazon and Google in their home market, said Jia Yueting, LeEco’s founder and chairman, but he added that LeEco has its unique ecosystem and advantage.

“America is the most important global market for us,” Jia said during a presentation. “Once we get the hearts and minds of US users, we can move on to the hearts and minds of global users.”

LeEco’s US content partners include Showtime, Lionsgate, MGM, Sling, Vice, The Travel Channel and Awesomeness TV.

LeEco is using the devices as “Trojan horses” to deliver its digital services, said Gartner analyst Werner Goertz. “This is a general trend in the industry, and LeEco is a prime example of how companies are subsidizing hardware with ulterior motives.”

The expectations for LeEco are modest. Research firm Strategy Analytics projects LeEco will sell about 25 million smartphones worldwide this year. By comparison, Apple had sold 214 million iPhones in the past year ending in June.



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