Economic Times: August, 2016
New Delhi: LeEco plans to invest about $200 million (Rs 1330 crore) into developing content for India, including its own produced content, over the next two to three years, while beginning to make smartphones locally by next month in a deeper push into what is a crucial market for the Chinese internet player.
The Beijing headquartered company aims to fill half of its content library for India with original content made locally and for the local market, within the next three years, while the remaining will be acquired from production houses and content providers.
"We won't shy away from investing into content... you could see about $200 million over two to three years," said Debashish Ghosh, chief operating officer of Indian Content Business at LeEco India. The company has tied up with Eros, YuppTV, and Hungama.
"We plan to launch our own content platform by October, which will host original and acquired premium content. Maybe in three to four years, half of our content would be original," Ghosh added.
Content - primarily movies, videos and music - will be the key differentiator for LeEco that has sold over 700,000 smartphones in India since its entry in January and plans to sell upto a million units by the month end.
The company also launched three smart televisions ranging between Rs 59,790 and Rs 1.49 lakh on Thursday, which will be available for pre-booking from August 10-12 and sales thereafter.
The content will be integrated with televisions and smartphones, which will set the brand apart in the intensely competitive Indian market in both categories. The company is also mulling launching VR headsets in India, which will also tie in the content strategy.
LeEco said it will begin making phones in India by next month, and was talking to a few contract manufacturers.
"We're close to starting manufacturing, within this quarter. We've been evaluating different locations including Andhra Pradesh, UP, Haryana and Uttarakhand. Now, we're in the final stages," Atul Jain, chief operating officer of Smart Electronics Business said separately.
The company is yet to ascertain the number of units it will get made locally and the assembly lines that will be required to make phones to meet demand.
In the TV segment, LeEco aims to become the No 1 brand in the online space within this year, while the models will be available in the offline retail within the next two to three months.
Having launched smartphones offline, the company will expand its reach from 2,000 outlets in eight cities to 8,000 outlets in 65 cities by the year end.