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LeEco, ‘Netflix of China,’ Comes to America with Big Promises

If you know someone working in Silicon Valley in anything from software engineering to microchips to hardware marketing to PR, there’s a good chance that they’ve heard from a recruiter at LeEco this year. The company, often dubbed the “Netflix of China,” is aggressively adding employees to its U.S. arm based in San Jose.

According to recruits, LeEco is offering above-market pay and promises of a U.S. IPO in a few years. But it’s not clear whether LeEco and its founder, Yueting Jia, can fund all its ambitious plans. A complex corporate structure makes it hard to understand the financial health of his empire.

One of the many things LeEco’s executives have said in recent months to recruits—and repeated to the press this week in Beijing—was that the company would partner with the real Netflix to stream Netflix-produced shows on LeEco’s video service in the U.S. A LeEco co-founder told reporters on Tuesday that there would be a related announcement in the third quarter of the year, generating numerous headlines in legitimate media sites in both Hong Kong and the U.S. 

There’s just one problem: It’s nonsense, according to Netflix.

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“LeEco’s finances would be problematic if the market experiences turbulence, which would have a significant impact on its new rounds of funding for other business.”