Watch out Samsung! China's LeEco is coming for you with Vizio buyout.


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Image: raymond wong/mashable

If you’ve never heard of LeEco, now is a good time to become familiar with it. 

The Chinese company that has been called the “Netflix of China” has a foothold in multiple industries such as video streaming, consumer electronics and automobiles. And in a joint announcement Tuesday, LeEco said it would acquire Vizio for $2 billion.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter, with LeEco gaining 100 percent ownership of the TV and audio company as a fully-owned subsidiary.

William Wang, founder and CEO of Vizio, will become the chairman and CEO of Inscape, the technology built into Vizio TVs that collects anonymized viewer data in real time, which will be spun off as a private company. Wang will get 51 percent ownership of Inscape, and LeEco the remaining 49 percent.

With the acquisition, LeEco will expand its reach beyond China and into the North American market. The buyout will allow LeEco to become a global company with the prowess to compete with the likes of Samsung, Apple and even Tesla.

Wang launched the company in 2002 with only $600,000 and a dream to build the best HDTV at the most affordable price.

With Vizio under LeEco, the Chinese company is in a unique position to offer its “Le Ecosystem” comprised of hardware, software, content, and applications, the four key pillars it has identified as crucial to breaking into markets beyond China.

Wang launched the company in 2002 with only $600,000 and a dream to build the best HDTV at the most affordable price.

Vizio’s internet-connected TVs are frequently recognized for offering excellent image quality and features at an incredible price. The Wirecutter, a shopping guide website, that maintains a list of the best gadgets, lists the company’s M-series 4K TVs as its pick for the second-best 4K TV you can buy right now.

Earlier this year, Vizio rolled out its most ambitious TVs yet with built-in Google Cast.

In the 14 years since, Vizio has grown into a business worth over $3 billion in yearly revenue, with annual growth every year in the last decade.

Vizio has sold over 70 million devices including TVs, sound bars and other devices (such as its short-lived laptops and PCs).

Winston Cheng, LeEco’s global head of corporate finance and development, said the acquisition will give the company access to over 28 million connected TVs installed worldwide. Eight million of those units will come from Vizio.

The deal will also give LeEco access to over 700 million monthly active users, who the company will be able to leverage as it promotes its video streaming services and devices such as internet-connected TVs, smartphones, VR and cars.



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