China's LeTV claims record sales of one million smartphones in under three months

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 August, 2015, 1:54pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 August, 2015, 1:54pm

Upstart Chinese smartphone brand LeTV has set a new record by selling over a million devices in its home market in less than three months, the company said this week.

LeTV chief executive Jia Yueting unveiled the company's first smartphones in April, in a shift from its core video-streaming business. 

Since then, it has sold over a million of its three mid-to-high-end devices - the Le 1, Le 1 Pro and Le Max - which retail for between 1,499 yuan and 3,699 yuan (US$230-585). 

These sales figures are considerably higher than those of domestic rivals Xiaomi and Meizu, which sold 400,000 and 600,000 smartphones, respectively, in their first years. 

As Xiaomi continues to upgrade the quality of its offerings while keeping retail prices down, it beat Apple and Samsung to claim a leading market share in China in the latest quarter. Another Chinese brand, Huawei, ranked No 2.

Meanwhile, it took OnePlus, which is more active in Western markets than many Chinese firms, 12 months to sell a million devices. The company is based in Shenzhen in southern China’s Guangdong province. 

However, as Tech in Asia pointed out, China's smartphone market is far larger today than when Meizu and Xiaomi launched around five years ago. 

Xiaomi shipped more than 19.8 million devices in the first quarter of 2015, according to research firm Canalys. 

Recent statistics from the official China Internet Network Information Centre showed there are almost 600 million smartphone users in China, the world's biggest market for such devices. 

In June, LeTV bought a 30 per cent stake in Chinese smartphone manufacturer Coolpad, leading Qihoo chief executive Zhou Hongyi to complain of being "stabbed in the back"

Last year, Qihoo invested US$409 million in new smartphone brand Qiku, a joint venture with China’s Coolpad.

LeTV's investment was not enough to stave off a drop in Coolpad shares, however, which fell recently amid concerns that the firm was not doing enough to target overseas markets.