Hong Kong arm of embattled Chinese conglomerate LeEco files petition to wind up business

Court records show application lodged by LE Corporation, but impact on television content provider’s services in Hong Kong is unknown

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 December, 2017, 2:57pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 December, 2017, 11:27pm

A Hong Kong arm of embattled Chinese conglomerate LeEco has filed a petition to wind up its business operations in the city, court records show.

The application to liquidate the business was lodged by LE Corporation on Wednesday, according to court documents.

Details remained unknown as the court records did not provide any further information other than the company’s name and the identity of its creditor.

LeEco was formerly called LeTV and is best known in Hong Kong for providing television content.

What impact the shutdown would have on the city was not clear on Thursday.

In a statement published on LeSports HK’s Facebook page, the firm’s sport division, which airs the English Premier League and NBA games, distanced itself from LE Corporation, stressing that they were two different entities.

“The winding-up application for LE Corporation Limited has nothing to do with LeSports HK. Nor will it have any impact on LeSports HK’s business,” it said.

According to the companies registry, LE Corporation is wholly owned by Beijing-based technology firm, which is a subsidiary of LeEco, founded by Chinese entrepreneur Jia Yueting.

But the presence of LeEco in Hong Kong apparently also takes the form of other companies including LeEco Hong Kong Co and LeEco APAC.

Hong Kong functions as a base for LeEco’s headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region.

The wind-up petition comes after a flurry of civil claims began heading the way of LE Corporation starting last year.

LeEco founder Jia Yueting ‘cannot keep’ promise of financial support to embattled subsidiary

These included a US$224,000 lawsuit over copyright fees mounted by Hong Kong film distributor Sundream Motion Pictures in December last year, and a HK$530,000 claim by local newspaper Hong Kong Economic Times, which was seeking outstanding advertising fees.

In August last year a marketing firm also sued the Hong Kong arm of LeEco for marketing fees amounting to HK$14 million.

In May this year, LeSports, another arm of LeEco, caused uproar among customers when it failed to broadcast the English FA Cup Final because it had defaulted on a payment.

Just days later, an advertising company, Innity China Company, lodged a civil suit targeting LeSports regarding overdue advertising fees of up to HK$3.85 million.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club, which organises the Wimbledon tennis championships in Britain, applied to put an end to LeSports’ business operations in August but withdrew the application two months later., legally known as Leshi Internet Information and Technology, is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Last month mainland China’s securities regulator said it was investigating the firm for suspected fraud involving its 2010 initial public offering.

But embattled LeEco received a 15 billion yuan (US$2.28 billion) boost for its subsidiaries in January from billionaire property magnate Sun Hongbin, the chairman of Tianjin-based property developer Sunac China Holdings.

In July, Jia stepped down from his management role at Leshi.

It was announced last month that Sun had also come to LeEco’s rescue for a second time by providing US$270 million in loans to its video streaming and television units Leshi internet and Leshi Zhixin.