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LeEco eyes FIPB approval to open stores


Chinese electronics firm LeEco is hopeful of getting Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval in two-three months to launch its own stores in the country.

LeEco eyes FIPB approval to open stores
The company has launched its Le 1s Eco smartphone at an introductory price of Rs 9,999

According to a report in PTI: “We applied for it (permission) about three weeks back. We have had one meeting with the government after that, which has been very positive. So, we are hopeful that in the next two-three months, we should get it,” Chief Operating Officer, LeEco India Smart Electronics Business, Atul Jain said.

Last month, the smartphone maker had filed an application with FIPB for undertaking single brand retail trading of electronic products both through brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce portal.

The company has launched its Le 1s Eco smartphone at an introductory price of Rs 9,999. It will have a flash sale on May 12 and the company aims to sell 1 lakh units on Flipkart.

“We are hopeful of achieving it. After the flash sale also, we will be selling the phone but the quantity will depend on the response that we get,” Jain added.

Le 1s Eco supports nine Indian languages — Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam and Bengali. The company has partnered with ErosNow, YuppTv and Hungama Music to stream content.

The Le 1s Eco phones will come with an app called Le Vidi, powered by ErosNow, which allows users to watch movies, while Le Live powered by Yupp TV allows users to watch live TV. Both the services will be available from May 24.

It has tied up with Hungama Music which offers over 3.5 million songs in 25 languages and this service will be rolled out in the third quarter of 2016.

LeEco has sold 4 lakh phones since entering the country this year, of which flash sales accounted for 50-55 per cent of the total sales. LeEco currently sells phones through the online route but Jain said in the next two months, they will be available in multi-brand outlets as well. The company also plans to sell its smart TVs in the country from June end.

Single Brand Store in India

Smartphone maker LeEco has filed an application with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for undertaking single brand retail trading of electronic products both through brick and mortar stores and e-commerce portal in India.

“India is a key market for LeEco and we plan to significantly invest in setting up our business model in the country. We have received a great response from consumers so far for our superphones and now plan to strengthen our presence in the market by opening our own stores and e-commerce portal,” LeEco India Smart Electronics Business COO Atul Jain said in a statement.

The company has also sought relaxation from the 30 per cent domestic sourcing rule so that it can bring in ‘cutting edge’ technology and ‘state-of-the-art’ features to the Indian consumers, the company said in a statement.

With plans to open fully-owned exclusive retail stores in top Indian cities, starting with New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, LeEco plans to display its entire ecosystem ranging from phones, TVs, VR Headsets, Bluetooth devices and power banks.

Additionally, the company will also open 500 franchise stores to ensure its consumers experience their breakthrough products and unique content integrated offerings across its device ecosystem.

LeEco, which positions itself as Internet ecosystem company, entered the Indian market early this year in January, with launch of smart cycle and two smartphone models – Le 1s and Le Max.

Earlier this month, the global player also announced setting up of in-house Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) in 10 cities across India by the end of 2016, with an investment of over $10 million (roughly Rs. 66 crores).

LeEco also has plans to set up an R&D centre in Bengaluru with a staff of 1,000 employees by the end of 2016.

The Beijing Story

Founded by Jia Yueting, in November 2004 , LeEco Group is building a “Le Ecosystem”, an online platform with content, devices and applications. The company is engaged in myriad businesses, spanning from Internet TV, video production and distribution, smart gadgets and large-screen applications to e-commerce, eco-agriculture and Internet-linked electric cars, which were announced in late 2014.

Till date it has launched four smartphones under its Le brand. The four dual-SIM smartphones are claimed to be the first in the world to come with USB Type-C ports.

LeEco Group also has a film production company called Le Vision Pictures.

The company has more than 5,000 employees, and is expanding to other countries such as the US and India.