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Chinese smartphone maker LeEco not to exit India, to focus on TV business

LiveMint logoLiveMint 19-03-2017 Anirban Ghoshal, Hindustan Times

New Delhi: Chinese electronics maker LeEco will focus on its TV business in the country and implement a new strategy to manage operations as the company goes through a cash crunch, a company official said.

“We will not exit India but work out a smart strategy to manage operations in India. We will be cautious with our investments for now,” Alex Li, group vice-president and India chief operating officer, said in an interview.

Li said the company’s TV business will grow faster than mobiles in India as the smart TV market is expected to boom.

“We will focus on smart TVs only and look at ways to solidify our existing customer base,” Li said.

Li added that the company was looking to invest in a new asset—an assembly/production or an R&D facility—in the IT development region coming up in Pali, Rajasthan.

The Rajasthan government has identified land to develop Jodhpur-Pali area as an Information Technology Investment Region (ITIR) and it will submit a detailed project report on the project to the Centre by mid-April.

Rajasthan’s state government has already identified land measuring 40 sq. km for ITIR.

LeEco’s billionaire founder and chief executive officer Jia Yueting admitted in a letter to staff in November that the firm was facing a “big company disease” and battling a cash crunch after expanding at an unprecedented rate.

According to a TechCrunch report, the company in March had reduced its headcount in the country from over 350 staff to a total of 80, in line with staff sizes of Chinese rivals Xiaomi and OnePlus.

“Our content development plans have been scaled down now with only a small team operating from Mumbai. We will look to partner more now,” Li said.

Li added that its partnership with Eros Now will also resume soon.

Eros Now recently stopped providing content to LeEco on its smartphones. Li said he has a meeting with Eros on Monday where he will look to address all the concerns.

Li also said that the company will look to generate more revenue from sale of accessories through its online LeMall store.

Also, Li said that electric cars will not come to India in 2017 and the company will not open single-brand retail stores in the same year as well.

According to the company, LeEco recorded revenue of Rs1,400 crore by selling at least 1.25 million phones and 12,000 smart TVs.

ITIR will focus on research and development (R&D) and human resource development. “It help create intellectual property and thereby make the nation competent in developing cutting edge technologies, electronics and software products,” MoS IT PP Choudhary said.

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