LeEco has been in the news quite a bit recently. Once known as LeTV, the company has taken to the road, announced new phones, and even called Apple “outdated”. For those loving outside the company’s native country, the name may not ring a bell, even though it’s often referred to as the “Netflix of China”. Things are about to change however, in a very big way.
Today LeEco announced the opening of its North American headquarters, making it a bold step into a new market. The facility, located in San Jose, California, is 80,000 square feet and can hold up to 800 employees. According to BusinessWire, in the future, it will also become the “home of LeEco’s autonomous driving research center, the LeFuture AI Institute.”
The company’s outspoken CEO, Yueting Jia, had the following statement to make:
Silicon Valley is critically important to our global growth strategy. Silicon Valley is known for its unique talent and culture of innovation and inspiration, which aligns perfectly with LeEco’s mission to bring extraordinary experiences to people everywhere. We’re looking forward to sharing our vision of one connected ecosystem with U.S. consumers – where users can create a seamless, premium connected experience across all of our lifestyle products.
In addition, the Chinese Consul General in San Francisco, Luo Linquan, was quoted by saying,
LeEco is an innovative, global company that creates excellent experiences for its customers. On behalf of the Chinese Consulate-General in San Francisco, I would like to extend a warm welcome and congratulate LeEco on their growth and expansion with their new North America headquarters.
Finally, the Mayor of San Jose, Sam Liccardo, took some time to thank the company as well, on behalf of the city he serves:
I am grateful to LeEco for choosing to locate its new headquarters in North San Jose, further cementing San Jose’s role as a world leader in innovation… On behalf of the City of San Jose, I congratulate LeEco on the opening of its new headquarters, where its hundreds of employees will continue to drive innovation for decades to come.
Aggressive in AmericaLeEco’s North American expansion shows that the company means [big] business. It is perhaps no surprise that its CEO called out Apple earlier this week for having an out of date business model. This is made all the more relevant by the fact that LeEco plans to have cars and VR headsets to go along with its existing product portfolio of televisions, smartphones, and internet-related services.
In a sense, the company is seemingly competing more with Google than it is with Apple, despite the fact that its smartphones currently run a skinned version of Android. Alphabet – the company which owns Google – has a variety of product sectors under its umbrella including advanced robotics. Apple on the other hand, has yet to formally announce plans to develop a smartcar, VR, or a television set even though it does have hardware that works with some the aforementioned product categories.
LeEco’s introduction into the US marks the advent of another large IT company from China, following others before it such as Huawei. There has been talk of Xiaomi seeking to enter the market as well, however in light of the company’s poor performance this past quarter it may need to look introspectively before it can expand outward.
It looks like some major competition just landed in Silicon Valley!