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Troubled LeEco ‘plans to cut US workforce’

Updated: 2017-05-24 10:22
Troubled LeEco ‘plans to cut US workforce’

LeEco's LeSee Pro concept car on display at the 2017 Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.AFP

BEIJING — Chinese technology conglomerate LeEco plans to lay off more than 300 employees in the United States, reducing the headcount to about 50 people, according to a company source.

The employees left at the whittled-down US business will service customers who have already purchased LeEco devices, the source who did not want to be identified said.

The layoffs sharply scale back the company’s ambitions in North America, where it made a splashy debut in October.

At the time, the company showed off an array of products it planned to sell in the US, including high-definition televisions, phones, virtual reality goggles and electric bikes.

The cutback plans follow reports in April that the company missed revenue targets by a wide margin and was planning major job cuts.

LeEco did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

The troubles extend far beyond LeEco’s US operations.

This week, the company announced that billionaire Jia Yueting would relinquish the day-to-day running of his flagship video service based in China, while parent company LeEco considers an internal overhaul that will group businesses from entertainment to TVs under its main listed company.

The internet giant has grappled with fundraising difficulties and unpaid bills in past months, a cash squeeze exacerbated by rapid expansion beyond online video into costly areas from sports broadcasting and electric cars to online finance.

Jia’s efforts to establish a foothold in the US have already faltered. A proposed $2 billion acquisition of California TV maker Vizio Inc was scrapped in April.

That deal was intended to create a beachhead for branding and acquiring US customers. The US operation has also suffered from an exodus of executives and growing frustration amid rounds of layoffs and delayed salaries.


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