LeEco takes on Apple, Google, Amazon, Netflix, Samsung, Oculus, Tesla and Uber in US debut
LeEco is not a household name in the States. You don’t see their products in Walmart or Best Buy. Chances are you don’t know anyone that uses LeEco’s movie streaming service or a LeEco smartphone. LeEco hopes to change that.
Today at an odd and overblown event, the company burst into the North American market with a bevy of services and products that’s set to take on the top brands.
First there’s the EcoPass, a Netflix-type streaming service. Of course there’s LeMusic, a music streaming service, too. The company says these services will ship on all their flagship products.
LeEco also has a line of TVs and smartphones, the Le S3 and Le Pro 3, and there’s a VR headset for the phones, too. The TV and smartphones will be available on LeMall.com through one day-only sales called flash sales.
But we’re not done!
There’s a bicycle complete with a built-in headlight, laser side markers, GPS, music player, and a security system. And then there’s the LeSee, an electric vehicle that the company said will ship complete with a ride-sharing service built-in.
The company unveiled its sprawling ecosystem today at an over-the-top event in San Francisco. Complete with a catwalk and massive screen, the company rolled out executives and product managers during the hour-long event. The show was streamed live on YouTube and concurrent viewers hovered around 800 people.
LeEco’s Chairman and CEO Yueting Jia took the stage last. Through a translator, he droned on about LeEco’s electric vehicle, the LeSee Pro. You see, as he explained, his company intended to have the vehicle on drive him on stage for the unveiling, but the vehicle had to make a stop off in London so Michael Bay could include it in the new Transformers’ movie. Totally forgivable. It happens all the time.
He concluded his talk by explaining the LeEco ecosystem that includes seemingly disconnected products of TVs, smartphones, an EV car, a battery-powered bike and a set of streaming services.
“We have given these products the same blood, the same nerve center, the same bloodline, the same ecosystem to share,” Jia said. “Through our vertical integration platform, content, hardware software and applications, we’ve created the world’s first open loop ecosystem. In the internet content domain, we’ve blazed a new path. We want to bring this content to America.”
LeEco isn’t new at shipping product. The company was founded in 2004 and first tackled streaming video where it earned the title “The Netflix of China.” The company shipped 3.9 million smartphones in 2014 and according to a recent study, that number could hit 25 million.
Over the summer the company purchased a 48-acre Silicon Valley office complex for $250 million from Yahoo. It plans on hiring 12,000 employees for this facility.
LeEco is serious about the North American market.
But a flashy unveiling does not guarantee success. Today’s event was bigger than Apple’s unveilings. It felt like something Samsung would produce with a few scripted jokes thrown onto the teleprompter. There were a few product videos and lots of awkward stumbles while presenters read their scripts.
LeEco’s success will be determined in how consumers get LeEco’s products. The company touted its first flash sale, an event that banks on the exclusivity and excitement of one day sales. Xiaomi has used flash sales to great success in other markets but has yet to use them in North American markets. And then there’s Vizio. LeEco purchased the TV company over the summer and could lean upon its distribution channels to fast track LeEco products into Best Buys and Walmarts.
The company’s first products will be available through one of those aforementioned flash sales on November 2. As for the bike and LeSee EV, the company isn’t revealing when those will be available or how much they will cost.