LeTV works with filmmakers on smartphone launch

China’s LeTV is collaborating with Chinese filmmakers including Zhang Yimou and Tsui Hark to help market its new smartphone.

Under the new partnerships, LeTV smartphone customers will have special access to films and other content from the two directors, along with TV shows from leading TV producer-director Zheng Xiaolong.

Tsui Hark is also working with LeTV on a media technology innovation lab in Silicon Valley.

Zhang Yimou joined LeTV’s film arm, LeVision Pictures, as artistic advisor in 2013 and directed Coming Home for the company. LeVision is also a minority investor in Zhang’s English-language epic The Great Wall, currently shooting for the China arm of US-based Legendary Pictures.

The content partnerships were announced today at a launch event for the LeTV smartphone in Beijing’s MasterCard Arena. LeTV founder Jia Yueting unveiled three models with entry prices of $242 (RMB1,499) and $403 (RMB2,499), directly taking aim at Apple’s iPhone, which he described as over-priced.

All three smartphones run on LeTV’s ‘Eco User Interface’ (EUI), which is based on Android 5.0, and is also integrated with LeTV’s smart TVs and the electric car that the company is currently developing. LeTV’s Smart Mobile unit is headed former Lenovo vice president Feng Xing.