LeEco can't seem to catch a break. Last month, its CEO Jia Yueting sent out a memo days after the company's US launch claiming it was over-extended and suffering from "big company disease," which seemed a clear euphemism for incoming job cuts. A month later, and things aren't any better.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the publicly-traded arm of LeEco, known as Leshi, had seen its stock tank earlier this week. Reports from Chinese media claim that an 8% drop on Tuesday triggered margin calls by Jia's lenders, meaning he will either be forced to sell some of his Leshi company stock or provide his margin accounts fresh funds.
According to the China-based Global Times, CEO of LeEco Jia Yueting sent a company-wide memo out on Sunday saying the company's rapid global expansion hasn't gone as well as hoped. In the memo, Jia says that "LeEco's growth pace and organizational capabilities" have been a problem, and that a lack of capital and resources resulted in poorer than expected momentum in the company's various businesses.
Jia specifically calls out "non-listed" LeEco, which are the various ventures of Jia organized through a large number of private subsidiaries not a part of the larger LeEco listed on the Shenzen Stock Exchange.
This morning, I received a rather odd email from a firm representing LeEco offering a "news update." It didn't seem to be an update at all, just re-confirming that on November 2nd the company's products would go on sale, and that there would be stupendous-amazing-wonderful discounts on them. Such as the Le S3 smartphone, powered by a Snapdragon 652 processor, which would be just $149 ($100 off), or the Le Pro 3, which would get you a Snapdragon 821 for a staggering $299. Or its 85" 4K smart TV, discounted to just $3999. LeEco said during its press conference that the prices would be good through November, and it was all part of its UP2U and LeRewards programs - no strings attached.
LeEco isn't a name familiar to most US consumers, but is very well-known in China and India. As was LeAked (sorry, couldn't resist) last week, LeEco's US range has now been unveiled, and boy is it expansive, with phones, TVs, cloud services, and a bike.
There are two smartphones: the Le S3 and the Le Pro3. As you may have guessed, the Le Pro3 has the higher specifications of the two, with a Snapdragon 821 CPU, 5.5-inch FHD display, a massive 4070mAh battery, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of internal storage. The Le S3, meanwhile, also has a 5.5-inch FHD display, but couples it with a Snapdragon 652 CPU, 3GB RAM, and 32GB internal storage.
The stage darkens, smoke pours out of an opening on the catwalk as bright blue lights franticly converge on a point. A man dips his head as he appears over the oddly low ramp, and jogs onto the stage.
That's YT Jia, LeEco's founder and CEO. He runs the LeEmpire (sorry), and his entrance was preceded by a video montage that included his face peering out of a wall of fire and sparks. To say that LeEco practices hero worship of its creator would not be a stretch - I have a feeling there's something approaching a cult of personality around this man in the company.
Well, LeEco's big October 19th US launch event seems to have been spoiled: what looks like the vast majority of its launch lineup just showed up on LeEco's website. The company appears to be prepping the storefront for the launch, but in the process revealed basically everything, including some prices, that it intends to announce on the 19th. Here's a list of those products.
The Letv Max Pro is the world's first Snapdragon 820 phone. And yes, I know: many of you have no freaking clue what Letv is, and until recently, I was just like you. Letv is a Chinese consumer electronics and software company, kind of similar in some ways (though very different in others) to Xiaomi. They've built smartphones before, but the Letv Max Pro is easily the most internationally paid-attention-to device they've produced.
The reason for that has literally nothing to do with Letv: it's all about Qualcomm. The Max Pro is the first phone with a Snapdragon 820 processor, a chip enthusiasts have been eyeing intently after a dismal year, in large part, for Qualcomm's Snapdragon portfolio.
Qualcomm gave a brief reveal of the upcoming Letv Max Pro smartphone, the first announced device equipped with the company's Snapdragon 820 processor. Few details about the phone were provided - basically none - but we know it has an 820, Qualcomm's nifty ultrasonic fingerprint authentication system (it's on the back of the phone), and WiFi 802.11ad, also known as WiGig.
Qualcomm provided a few updates on Snapdragon 820 generally, saying the chip has secured over 80 design wins at this point, which is no small number for such a powerful - and pricey - mobile SoC.
The Letv Max Pro remains largely a mystery until we hear more from Letv themselves, though Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkompf did briefly show off what looked like a functional device on stage.