HONG KONG, May 24 (Reuters) - Chinese TV and smartphone vendor LeEco said it will lay off 325 employees in the United States as the sprawling, cash-strapped conglomerate scales back operations in the country and focuses mainly on Chinese-American consumers.
“While we’ve made progress in growing our distribution channels, the challenges with raising new capital have made it difficult in the past few months to support all of our business’ priorities,” LeEco said in a statement.
The layoffs span departments including facilities, research and development, and marketing and sales, Teri Daley, LeEco’s general manager of communications, said in an interview.
The cuts represent around 70 percent of “around 500” employees when it formally launched U.S. operations in October. They include high-profile hires formerly at Qualcomm Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, according to Daley.
She declined to comment further on the size of the remaining headcount, but said most employees would be based in San Jose, California, with a reduced workforce in Los Angeles, while its San Diego office would close.
LeEco will continue to sell TV sets, smartphones and content in the United States, with the Chinese community being the “primary audience”, Daley said. It will drop previously announced plans to sell virtual reality goggles and smart bikes, she said.
Reuters previously reported that a cash-crunch forced LeEco to sell a $260 million site in Silicon Valley earmarked for its North America campus. (Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Christopher Cushing)