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LeEco fires 85% staff, likely to exit India

LeEco sacks 85% of Indian staff looking to exit India

He also said the company has new models in the pipeline.

In its glorious days, LeEco got the better of rivals like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo with an advertising budget as high as Rs 80 crore a month. "In the past one year, LeEco India has gained market recognition and the initial stage of market seeding has been successful".

Chinese e-commerce giant LeEco has fired 85% of its staff in India amid signs of growing financial strain on the company and this could lead to its possible exit from the country. 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.

The company has been facing a cash crunch since November 2016, when reports surfaced that the its extensive expansion into categories - ranging from smartphones to driverless cars resulted in cash cash burn. Both the Mumbai and Delhi offices of the company are said to be left with minimal staff, while firings are on in its Bengaluru research and development centres.

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.

India Chief Operating Officer Alex Li denied any plans to exit the country; he did confirm the exit of two top executives. Two of its top executives in India have also quit, a spokesperson told BloombergQuint. LeEco is hinting that it will launch more smartphones and TVs in India in the coming days.

"The Indian operations will undoubtedly adopt a laser- sharp focus on overall organisational efficiency, capacity- building and talent nurturing while remaining unwaveringly committed to maintaining a sustainable and profitable business model", LeEco said.

"India is one the most strategic markets for LeEco", Reuters quoted the company as saying in a statement, adding that it had no plans to exit the South Asian nation. "So, LeEco found it neither here nor there", cited the senior executive requesting anonymity. It's yet to be ascertained if the company has any particular reason behind taking this decision, but for now, it seems like LeEco's future in the country hangs in the balance.