LeEco to collaborate with Netflix on content

Chinese tech giant LeEco is in talks with Netflix about a content collaboration, according to co-founder and vice chairman Liu Hong.

“We are planning a very significant cooperation with Netflix, and details will be announced in the third quarter,” said Liu speaking in Beijing on Tuesday (August 2).

He added that the company would reveal more about the tie-up at an event scheduled at the end of September to announce its North America strategy. The ambitious Shenzhen-listed company recently established an 80,000 square foot North American headquarters in Silicon Valley and just last week announced the acquisition of US smart TV maker Vizio for $2bn.

It’s expected that the Netflix collaboration will see the US company’s shows streaming on LeEco’s platform in the US, rather than on its services in the tightly regulated mainland China market.

Chinese authorities have recently been clamping down on foreign involvement in online media and both Apple and Disney have recently had their Chinese online services curtailed. Netflix has made no secret of its ambitions to enter the China market, but has so far been unable to find an entry strategy.

Meanwhile, LeEco has started selling its devices in both the US and India and has also earmarked Russia for future expansion. As in China, the company plans to package its devices with its “content, apps and cloud services ecosystem”.

The company is already involved in financing Hollywood and Chinese content and recently hired a team in Mumbai to look at original content in India. It has also partnered with ErosNow and YuppTV for Indian content.

Speaking in Beijing, Liu said it’s more difficult to build up a big library of content in the US as English-language film and TV rights are monopolised by local studios and production companies. “In terms of content strategy, we will be more open to business cooperation in the US,” Liu said.