LeEco breaks into India’s TV market as it seeks further international expansion

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 8:48pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 September, 2016, 9:19am

Chinese tech conglomerate LeEco on Thursday launched its line of smart TVs in India, marking the company’s second entry into an overseas TV market as it looks to expand internationally.

The launch comes a week after LeEco’s US$2 billion acquisition of US TV manufacturer Vizio, a strategic move to help LeEco manufacture and sell televisions to the North American market. The company currently sells a US$799 smart TV and other electronic accessories in the US.

The company is expected to unveil its US strategy in September, which could include a possible tie-up with US streaming platform Netflix for its content ecosystem, according to the company.

LeEco’s strategy is to integrate content into hardware for its consumers. On the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, purchasing a LeEco television often comes with discounted or even free subscriptions to LeEco’s video streaming service, which can include movies, TV series and even sports matches.

For the Indian television market, LeEco is taking a similar route. It launched its Super3 4K television series, which includes the 55- and 65-inch models Super3 X55, Super3 X65 and Super3 Max65. Prices start from Rs. 59,790 (US$892), with the most expensive Super3 Max65 priced at Rs.149,790 (US$2,240).

To build up its content ecosystem for the Indian market, LeEco earlier this year partnered with Indian on-demand entertainment content providers such as Eros Now, Yupptv and Hungama, allowing buyers to stream a plethora of films, TV channels and songs on their TV or smartphone.

Dubbed the “Supertainment” membership, it is often bundled with a free trial or fixed-term membership when customers purchase a LeEco device.

The Indian market is still in the development stage, and its large population means that there is much potential for growth in the TV market
Wang Yinling, IDC China

“The Indian market is still in the development stage, and its large population means that there is much potential for growth in the TV market,” said Wang Yinling, a client devices analyst at research firm IDC China. “Twenty eight per cent of Indian households are still without television, and existing television sets will also eventually be upgraded to smart TVs. This is likely why LeEco is choosing to launch its TV business in India.”

Wang said that the price point for LeEco’s smart TVs in India is rather expensive, although she pointed out that this could be be LeEco’s strategy to establish its brand in the market.

“LeEco may have a strong content platform in China, but in overseas markets, they need to strengthen this ecosystem. It is difficult for the company to compete with established TV brands if it sells its 4K TV sets without strong content,” she added.

“Thus LeEco would rather work with local content providers to sell a well-rounded product while establishing its image as a TV brand in India.”

LeEco first entered the Indian market in January this year when it launched the Le 1s smartphone on Indian e-commerce platform Flipkart. 70,000 devices were sold in two seconds, similar to the overwhelming response for fellow Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi’s smartphones.

LeEco’s latest line of Super3 smart TVs will also be available for pre-sale on Flipkart, as well as LeEco’s e-commerce platform LeMall, from August 10-12.