China’s LeEco launches smartphones in India

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Chinese tech company LeEco has started rolling out its devices in India to cash in on the country’s fast-growing smartphone market.

The Shenzhen-listed company launched its Le Max and Le 1s smartphones at an event in Delhi on January 20. Le Max is priced at Rs32,999 (US$485) for the 64GB version and Rs69,999 (US$1,028) for the 128GB crystal display version, while the lower-priced Le 1s retails for Rs10,999 (US$162) with 32GB storage.

Earlier this month, LeEco also introduced a range of niche products to India, including a smart cycle with its own operating system and a 3D virtual reality headset. The company is also setting up production lines and R&D centres in India.

Competing with Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei in the Chinese smartphone market, LeEco differentiates itself on the fact that it’s also a player in the content production and distribution business, rather than just a manufacturer of devices, a strategy that it hopes to duplicate in India.

The company has already pacted with Eros International’s ErosNow SVOD platform, and will bundle a 12-month subscription to the service with its phones and other devices in the Indian market.

However, it will face competition from local telco giant Reliance Jio, which is also planning to launch a smartphone, branded Lyf, when it rolls out 4G services later this year. Reliance Jio, which is a major shareholder in news and entertainment broadcaster Network 18, also plans to package content with data and smart devices.

LeEco is also introducing its phones, smart TVs and other devices in the US market, where it is understood to be targeting Chinese expats in the initial stages, as some of the user interfaces for its devices are in Chinese.