The company managed to outpace rival Chinese manufacturers Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi with an advertising budget of Rs. 80 crore/month. Regarding the layoffs, Li stated that the company has reimagined and recalibrated its business in the country since 2016 and has taken the necessary steps to make sure that the operations are in sync with the resources.
Even though a new report from The Economic Times states that LeEco has let go over 85% of its staff and that it may exit the Indian market soon, the company said in a statement given to Gadgets360 that it has reduced its headcount from 350 to just 80, and that it is not exiting the business in India. Speculations of trimming down the Indian team had started in December past year, when reports of LeEco India exiting offline sales of smartphones, had started creeping in; and that it would cut 1,000 in-shop temporary jobs. It doesn't come as a surprise, after Jia Yueting, CEO of LeEco in an email to employees back in November, admitted that the company was going through a phase of financial instability.
The report adds that the Mumbai and Delhi offices of LeEco have minimal staff and firings are happening in the Bengaluru R&D centers. It already decided not to sell smartphones online, and it is trying to find a sustainable business model with today's "optimisation exercise. Around January there were rumors that Atul might be leaving and any hope for recovery was bleak also there were no new launches being executed", the person further said.
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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 demonetisation. "That has been the primary objective in taking certain measures, though the numbers (of layoffs) indicated are incorrect", Li said.
"India is one the most strategic markets for LeEco and hence there is no exit plan. So, LeEco found it neither here nor there", cited the senior executive requesting anonymity.
As said earlier, the company has acknowledged reducing the team size in the country but maintains it is "in line with industry benchmark".
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