Ambitious Chinese content and devices company LeEco detailed its big push into the US market, claiming that its model “breaks boundaries between screens to seamlessly deliver content and services on a wide array of connected smart devices”.
YT Jia, founder, chairman and CEO, said: “”We have created a new business model that will lead the next era of technology – the ecosystem era. We are disrupting several categories and changing the paradigm by breaking down barriers and boundaries between industries and screens to create a better experience and more value for both individuals and industries.”
The company has not pulled its punches on entry into the US market. It has made high-profile hires (such as Danny Bowman, ex-Samsung and Sprint, and Rob Chandhok, ex-Qualcomm), bought a large site in California, and inked a deal to buy a TV maker to boost its North American presence.
LeEco’s model is not just about devices. The company said it has built one of the world’s largest video cloud networks (LeCloud), and a “ground breaking” user interface (EUI) which integrates with content from top providers.
Touting its content credentials, the company said that since its inception in 2004, it has “amassed more than 5,000 movies and 100,000 TV episodes, and attracted 50+ million daily active users and 730+ million monthly active users in China”.
For the US, it has partnered with companies including Lionsgate, MGM, Showtime, Vice Media, Awesomeness TV, A+E, “with others being added weekly”.
And the company also has a “User Planning to User (UP2U)” programme, which gives consumers a chance to influence the ecosystem expansion and “co-create the experience and the next generation of LeEco products”. Individuals share feedback via trials, social channels, on-device apps and at events, with responses fed to the LeEco development teams.
LeEco has also been building its presence globally. Building on its base in China, it has expanded into India and Russia. Earlier this week Strategy Analytics said the vendor is on track to grow smartphone shipments to 25 million units from just 3.9 million last year, enough to make it the 11th largest vendor worldwide.
The research firm said LeEco is the world’s fastest-growing major smartphone maker, which was attributed to its cost-competitive hardware, improving distribution and a growing ecosystem of media content.
LeEco is offering two smartphones for the US market, LePro 3 and Le S3. Priced at $399 and $249 respectively, both have 5.5-inch screens and high-end audio features, and are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.
The company is also offering four televisions, with the high-end uMax85 (with 85-inch display) priced at $4,999, joined by 43-inch, 55-inch and 65-inch TVs in the Super4 X series, priced between $649 and $1,399.
Devices are being bundled with an “EcoPass”, which includes warranty, cloud storage, unlimited music viewing on Fandor, sale days on LeMall.com and priority customer service, and discounted prices for many add-on content partners featured in LeApp.
But LeEco is also about more than traditional screens. It “previewed its vision of connected screens” which include an Android-powered smart bike, VR headset and LeSee Pro self-driving vehicle.