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LeEco raises 1.08 Billion to develop its own electric vehicle

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【Summary】LeEco, a web video company based in Beijing that now extends its business to almost every corner of the tech field from television to transportation, recently raised US$ 1.08 billion in order to build its electric car.

Original Alan    Oct 03, 2016 11:00 PM PT
LeEco raises 1.08 Billion to develop its own electric vehicle
Claire Pu

By Claire Pu  

As electric car is red hot right now, and every tech company has an eye on getting a slice of the pie. This is es-pecially true of mainland China. LeEco, a web video company based in Beijing that now extends its business to almost every corner of the tech field from television to transportation, recently raised US$ 1.08 billion in order to build its electric car.

"The US$ 1.08 funding amount has set a new benchmark for the global automobile industry. This is a milestone for us. The participation of major institutions is a testament of their appreciation of the ecosystem business model and global strategy of LeEco. From this point on, LeSee will accelerate towards its goal of building a global electric transportation ecosystem powered by smart internet technology." In early morning of Sep 20th, the founder of LeEco Jia Yueting released the news to public.

He further added that the leading investors include Yingda Capital Management Co. Ltd., China Communication Construction Ltd. China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp, Shenzhen Capital Group Co. Ltd., Legend Hold-ings, China Minsheng Trust, Macrolink Group and Hongzhao Fund, which are backed by Chinese state-own finance institutions, as well as conglomerates in the private sector.

China has committed to the development of EV and plug-in hybrids with ample government support, as part of its commitment to sustainable energy practices in the future. This is part of what's driving interest and invest-ment in EV development from both domestic and international companies within the country.

It was at the end of 2014 that LeEco decides to enter the electric car field.  April this year, LeEco introduced its first driverless concept car – the LeSEE at an event in Beijing. It's a sedan design intended to be completely au-tonomous, featuring machine learning of facial, emotion, various systems, and path recognition.The recent US$ 1.08B influx of cash should help accelerate its EV plans, which so far include LeSEE. LeEco also has a partnership in place with U.S.-based Faraday Future, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Aston Martin to co-develop electric car in February this year. 

This April, LeEco opened its 80,000-square-foot U.S. headquarters in San Jose, California.  On its opening ceremony, US LeEco Chief Administrative Officer Shawn Williams expressed the company's ambition:
"We see huge opportunities ahead as we continue to expand globally. We're a relatively new brand in the U.S., but we do business all around the world, and our presence here in Silicon Valley puts an exclamation point on our visionary plans."

Its US office now has over 1000 employees, and has been on an acquisition and hiring spree, including a recent hire of former Qualcomm executive Rob Chandhok to lead its North American research and development ef-forts.

LeEco plans to separate itself from the pack by offering an "ecosystem" of Internet-connected services and products, the "next generation" of the of Internet of Things.

Resources from: TechCrunch, SFGATE


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