LeEco seems to have bottomless pockets at the moment. In August the company announced plans to build a $3bn eco-park/driverless car manufacturing plant in Zhejiang, and now it looks like Le will start pushing its TVs, phones, bikes, cars and VR headsets in the US. From Variety (via):
LeEco has done some considerable spending to enter the U.S. market: The company has opened an office in San Jose and hired key talent from competitors; some of its high-profile hires include Samsung’s former SVP of HR Shawn Williams, Samsung’s former COO Danny Bowman and Samsung’s former Chief Marketing Officer Todd Pendleton. Earlier this week, LeEco also announced the hire of former Qualcomm exec Rob Chandhok as its new head of R&D.
LeEco is also a major content producer in China. Within my wheelhouse, they put on huge, live-streamed events at their 3,000-capacity music venue and 18,000-capacity sports arena in Beijing. They’re also the official streaming partner of Boiler Room China, which just hosted Skrillex’s BR debut. That probably cost some bandwidth.
Le also has a film production subsidiary that financed forthcoming Zhang Yimou blockbuster The Great Wall, which stars Matt Damon in a lead role (thoughtful piece on differing attitudes toward whitewashing in China vs US here), and will probably smash some kind of box office/co-pro record.
This from a company that basically started as one of several Chinese Youtube ripoffs. Tencent’s WeChat is getting all the hype lately as the China tech marvel (I was entertained by this recent LA Times article on how it’s being used to facilitate Southern California’s black market 小吃 trade), but LeEco’s moves seem much more grandiose to me. Lately I’ve been interested in trans-Pacific cultural flows, of both tech (China-Silicon Valley) and film/entertainment (China-Hollywood). Le is dipping its beak in both.