You may not be familiar with the Chinese electronics vendor LeEco. But you’re about to be.
The Beijing-based company will ship 25 million smartphones this year, Strategy Analytics predicted today, marking a 541 percent increase over last year. LeEco is the world’s fastest-growing major smartphone vendor, according to the firm, and will be the eleventh-largest vendor worldwide this year.
The company has quickly gained traction in its home market and is aggressively moving into foreign regions as it takes on more established players.
“LeEco first entered the global smartphone market in 2015. Its Le 1S and Le 2 flagship smartphone models have proven wildly popular in China and formed the bedrock of soaring worldwide growth,” Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics said in a press release. “LeEco has expanded into India in 2016 and it is eyeing the United States as a next growth engine for its smartphones through 2017.”
Indeed, LeEco CEO YT Jia wrote in a blog post this week that the company plans to employ 12,000 people in Silicon Valley. The company will host a high-profile coming out party in the U.S. tomorrow, according to Variety, and in July it announced the $2 billion acquisition of U.S. TV manufacturer Vizio. It has also hired key former executives from Samsung and Qualcomm.
Unlike some manufacturers of mobile devices, LeEco hopes to use its hardware business to grow a media empire. Mawston said the company is sometimes referred to as “the Netflix of China” due to its library of local Chinese video and other content.
“LeEo is in the process of building a multi-platform ecosystem, using smartphones, smart TVs and other hardware products to distribute its growing media portfolio,” Mawston wrote. “It remains to be seen whether LeEco can replicate its China success across the U.S., India or elsewhere, due to local tastes or copyright barriers, but LeEco is clearly growing at a very rapid rate and the vendor is an emerging threat to mass-market smartphone rivals such as Alcatel, Huawei and Samsung.”