Chinese smartphone maker LeEco has downsized its Indian staff from over to 350 employees to a total of 80 but has denied the reports that it is leaving the country.
Confirming to TechCrunch, a LeEco spokesperson said that they have reduced the headcount “in line with industry benchmarks,” putting its India-based staff numbers on a comparable level with those of rival Chinese phone makers Xiaomi and OnePlus.
Denying the report about planning an exit from India, the company said in a statement, “India is one the most strategic markets for LeEco and hence there is no exit plan. In the past one year, LeEco India has gained market recognition and the initial stage of market seeding has been successful.”
Though last November, Jia Yueting, CEO of LeEco in an email to employees, admitted that the company was going through a phase of financial instability but a LeEco's representative told TechCrunch that the layoffs in India were not a result of wider company belt-tightening or disappointing sales. “The company’s recent moves were well thought out and planned as part of a longer-term strategy for the Indian market, and not triggered by the purported slump in sales due to demonetization,” the person said.
LeEco got into India only last year in February with its smartphones and Televisions being sold exclusively on Flipkart. The company’s advertising budget alone, for promoting its products and offering deals was around Rs 80 crores per month which led to cash exhaustion.
While other Chinese smartphone makers like Xiaomi, Oppo, Lenovo and Vivo have found much success on Indian shores, LeEco hasn't been able to deliver much.