Hello, I am YT Jia, Founder, Chairman and CEO of LeEco. For the past three years, I have been preparing to bring my Eco World vision to the U.S., and in two days it will finally become a reality.
In 2004, I founded LeTV.com in China with a simple goal – to bring Internet video to the masses. Many thought I was crazy for paying for copyrights to content when pirating was rampant in China, but content has always been at the heart of my vision. In fact, in 2011 we started our own movie studio that produces original box office hits and TV shows, and today Le Vision Pictures is among the top three film companies in China. LeTV.com, our streaming video site, has the largest catalogue of original and copyrighted content in China with 50+ million daily users and 730+ million monthly users. LeTV remains China’s only public company in the online video industry. We have also built our own video cloud platform to deliver that content more effectively. LeCloud now covers 60+ countries and major cities across 5 continents and includes 750 CDN nodes with 30 Tbps bandwidth.
We could have stopped there and continued to be successful, but the viewing experience on existing TVs simply wasn’t great, so four years ago LeTV.com launched its first branded Internet-connected TV. What happened next would have made many people rethink their strategy – our stock dropped almost 40 percent. It is completely understandable, because many believe – and many companies have proven – it is hard to be great at everything. But the truth is many companies expand for the wrong reason or without a clear vision. Today, we are the leading Internet TV brand and the fastest-growing smartphone brand in China because we’ve stayed true to our vision of great content delivered seamlessly to devices that are affordable for all.
Our success in China made me wonder, could our Internet ecosystem model drive global industry change and provide value for users around the world?
In 2013, I visited the U.S. and was impressed with the influence of Hollywood as the birth place of culture and art, and the innovation that was happening in Silicon Valley. What was clear, though, was the lack of synergy between the entertainment and technology industries. Although the industrial specialization in the U.S. creates perfection in some areas, it has also put up rigid boundaries and divisions between industries, and has hindered innovation to a large extent. That trip validated my thinking that my ecosystem vision – which has been creating more value and benefit for both individuals and industries in China – could solve some fundamental challenges that this mature market was facing.
For me, it isn’t simply about the content or the hardware, it is about the full experience, so earlier this year we launched LeEco. LeEco – short for LeEcosystem – is a privately held company that is dedicated to building a vertically integrated and open ecosystem that combines platform, content, devices and applications. Effectively, we are making it possible to seamlessly deliver content to any screen at any time. This is the future of a truly connected lifestyle.
Today the idea of living in “a connected world” could not be further from reality. How many people do you know watch movies on their smartphone and then seamlessly move it to their TV – or even better their car – without missing a scene or restarting the show? Even the most tech-savvy individuals are stuck in a one-screen-at-a-time world, where screens do not interact without a dongle and definitely cannot do it seamlessly. Our vision is to connect all devices seamlessly and elegantly.
At the heart of the issue is how the tech category and our counterparts have approached innovation.They focus on building walls and silos; we are focused on tearing them down. They are focused on building their coffers; we are focused on building an open ecosystem, and making premium devices affordable and available to all.
We are not just another technology company who says we think differently. We really do think differently. We have created a new business model that we believe will define the next era of technology – the ecosystem era. Today, we are in a category of one, but we’ve purposefully created an open Internet ecosystem where all are welcome. We intend to unleash the potential of cross-industry and cross-business innovation to create more value for individuals and industries in order to create the next generation user experience. To do this, we will disrupt several categories and change the paradigm by breaking down barriers and boundaries, but in the process we will create new synergies, a better experience and more value for all. We call this EcoAction.
LeEco has seven different businesses – Internet and cloud, music and video content, smart TV, mobile, sports, automotive and Internet finance. These areas may seem unrelated, but the synergy between and among them is the backbone of our business model. By integrating the best content with the best hardware through our EUI – ecosystem user interface – we are creating an “Eco Lifestyle,” a truly connected experience and life.
We’ve run into a few doubters along the way because we’re doing something that has never been done before and something that isn’t easy to do, but our success in China demonstrates we are THE company that can drive this ambitious vision forward. My personal philosophy is that if you dare to dream what 99% of the world believes is impossible, you’ve earned the right at that 1% chance to be successful.
Our global vision for a connected ecosystem of great content and amazing devices at disruptive prices drives us forward and is what is fueling our global expansion. We launched in Hong Kong and India in 2015, Russia in September – and in two days, on Oct. 19, we will officially launch in the U.S.
When many companies are focused on going east, we are moving west. Over the past year, we’ve been in the U.S., quietly bringing our vision to this market. We’ve built a home here – a global headquarters in San Jose with offices in Santa Monica and San Diego, California as well as Bellevue, Washington.
We’ve been hiring the best and the brightest from many categories who see the Eco World as the future.We employ more than 500 in the U.S. today, with more being added each week. To accommodate this growth and to realize our vision for the future, we purchased approximately 49 acres in Santa Clara, California from Yahoo! This property will be an EcoCity that houses 12,000 employees and offers an open campus where all – including the community – will be welcome. We are designing EcoCity to be a place where the community can gather for live music, play sports and collaborate with us to build the next generation of our products.
The openness of our ecosystem – and our future campus – represents a core strategy of our company.Our User Planning to User (UP2U) approach is built on consumer input and feedback. While we employ some of the world’s top talent in all areas of our business, LeEco’s UP2U model welcomes you into the discussion and strives to incorporate your input into all facets of our business, because we are building this Eco World together. With users at the center of the interaction, our ecosystem is growing and learning every day. Our ecosystem isn’t closed and curated for you. It is open, personalized and built with you. We have a dynamic process for feedback and a process for implementing the feedback into every aspect of our business from design, R&D and software, to pricing and the content we deliver. Because our software ties everything together, our devices and the experience continually get better.
This idea of open versus closed is important, because a closed ecosystem benefits some, but not others.Our approach, an open ecosystem, is shared by all and benefits all. It allows end users to select the content they want, when they want it, and on the screen they prefer, and pay as they go. Content providers will have a new way to distribute content through LeEco platforms and devices, and the ability to provide users with a truly connected viewing experience across platforms and devices. Our device partners can leverage the content and LeCloud to make their products even more valuable and beloved.
Regardless if LeEco is a successful company in the future, we are on a mission to define a new way forward and the next generation user experience – the Eco Lifestyle. We are building a new internet economy that is shared and restructures the value chain for the benefit of all. We invite you to join us on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 10 a.m. PT at www.LeEco.com as we “Ignite the Eco World” in the U.S. That day will mark a major milestone in the U.S., because LeEco will do something that has never been done before and that we believe no other company in the world can do.