Tech Industry

LeEco walks back its crazy-ambitious tech superpower plans

Less than a month after a sometimes surreal US coming-out party, LeEco's CEO tells staff they tried to scale up a little too quickly.

LeEco CEO Jia Yueting at the company's blowout announcement in October 2016.
Ashley Esqueda/CNET

It seemed for a moment as if there was nothing techie LeEco could not or would not try. If you watched the occasionally surreal press conference that the Chinese conglomerate held at the end of October to announce its arrival in the the US, you might have considered it the biggest company you'd never heard of: It announced plans for everything from phones to TVs (it bought Vizio in July) to a self-driving electric car to an online shopping hub (LeMall!) and video distribution service.

That's a lot on the plate of a company that started out in online video distribution and only just expanded into India and Europe with phones.

But in the wake of that hugely ambitious announcement, CEO Jia Yueting sent a letter to LeEco staff that basically said "Oops. We expanded too fast and we're short on capital," according to the Chinese Global Times, which said it had obtained a copy of the letter. It's not clear yet what the company has in mind for its next steps.

LeEco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.