But legal and potential regulatory headaches aside, personalization sits at the heart of what LeEco wants to achieve.
In the words of CEO and founder YT Jia, speaking through a translator at the event, LeEco sees itself as the “perfect combination of technology, culture, cars and the internet.”
It might sound grandiose, but not for lack of ambition. LeEco started life in 2004 as a digital streaming service – people are fond of calling it the “Netflix of China” – before going on to manufacture affordable smart TVs, phones, a VR headset, a smart bike (for some reason) and, soon, an autonomous car (still in the concept phase). The idea is to integrate content across the whole shebang.
“Through vertical integrations, we bring platforms, hardware, software, content and applications together so we can ensure our users enjoy a seamless experience everywhere in our ecosystem,” said Richard Ren, CEO of LeEco North America and president of LeEco’s global smart devices business.
“America is the most important global market for us and Americans are the most mature consumers,” Jia said. “Once we have the hearts and minds of American users, we can move on to the hearts and minds of global users.”
Although Jia claimed this aggressive push into the US isn’t about throwing the gauntlet down in Apple’s backyard, that pretty much seems to be the strategy.
“Apple is a closed loop,” Jia said. “LeEco is an open loop, a complete ecosystem.”