LeTV’s group-wide rebrand to LeEco, unveiled last Wednesday, formalizes an expanded strategy and global ambition for a Chinese tech group which has diversified into hardware, software and data-related services in recent years, after launching as a video streaming site in November 2004.
One day after the announcement, LeEco signalled continued momentum for 2016, securing World Cup football rights for Hong Kong.
The move complements its swoop on the next three seasons of Premier League games for Hong Kong last September, followed in December by the launch of new streaming services and hardware sales in the city, a market that will serve as a beachhead for further expansion into Southeast Asia.
LeEco is also getting ready to open an R&D center and start selling its branded smartphones in India, at a launch event scheduled this month. That's part of a bigger international push into markets with the most potential for growth or innovation that also includes the US.
Ongoing expansion, helping differentiate its video business from well-resourced rivals, has helped LeEco forge distinct business areas, anchored around retail site LeMall (operational in China, Hong Kong, India and the US) and video distribution network Le Cloud at its core.
The group’s strategy, encapsulated in its rebrand, orients around hardware sold at or below cost to subsidize a broader ecosystem of software and data-related services.
The group started making its own set-top boxes and smart TVs for the domestic market in 2013 (with 12 months' free access to its paid service included in the price tag), before expanding to smartphones and smart cars last year.