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Would-Be Tesla Competitor Selling Silicon Valley Land As Cash Remains Scarce

David Z. Morris
Would-Be Tesla Competitor Selling Silicon Valley Land As Cash Remains Scarce

Reuters reports that LeEco, a Chinese tech conglomerate with ambitions to enter the electric car market, is trying to sell a 49-acre plot of land in Silicon Valley that was to be the site of its U.S. headquarters. The planned buyer is reportedly a Chinese developer called Genzon Group, who would buy the property for $260 million.

The potential sale is the latest in a string of indicators that LeEco is struggling after a period of rapid expansion. CEO Jia Yeuting acknowledged cash flow issues, and announced he would not take his annual salary, last November. In January, LeEco obtained $2.2 billion in capital from property developer Sunac China Holdings--an investment met with skepticism by Sunac's own investors.

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The new sale suggests that despite that cash infusion, LeEco is scaling back its ambitious plans for the U.S. market. Reuters also reports that LeEco has cut at least half of its U.S. staff since last May, along with cuts in India and at home in China.

That's a drastic reversal from last October, when Jia declared in a press event that LeEco would compete with U.S. tech giants in areas as diverse as smartphones, VR headsets, and self-driving cars. All those products and more would be connected through a cloud system.

Whether or not those ambitions eventually find steadier footing, LeEco's continued struggles are grim news for electric carmaker Faraday Future, a company which, while technically separate from LeEco, is financially backed by Jia. The two companies have reportedly shared development tasks on electric vehicles, and Jia's financial trouble has already led to cash shortages and curtailed ambitions at Faraday.

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