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This is how the great LeEco India story went bust

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LeEco

New Delhi, March 3 : After arriving in India in January last year, Chinese internet and technology conglomerate LeEco fast became the “true disrupter” in the evolving Indian smartphone market with its huge marketing spend — and the announcement of a state-of-the-art assembling/manufacturing unit.

News that the company has fired 85 per cent of its India staff across the sales, marketing and distribution departments — and confirmed by a company source to IANS on Friday — has effectively punctured a mammoth dream just within a year.

The source also confirmed to IANS that both Atul Jain, Chief Operating Officer, Smart Electronics Business, and Debashish Ghosh, Chief Operating Officer for Internet Applications, Services and Content, were “asked to leave” and had not quit as reported.

Speculation is also rife that LeEco may finally exit the country after spending millions on promoting its ecosystem of “superphones” and “super TVs”.

“LeEco is in serious financial trouble and has, as a consequence, practically ceased India operations. The staff layoffs are a direct consequence of this. Even in the previous quarter, their shipments were close to zero,” Jaideep Mehta, Managing Director, IDC South Asia, told IANS.

After its entry into India, the company launched five superphones, a LeEco membership of content and internet services, its e-commerce platform LeMall and, most recently, “SuperTVs”.

“LeEco, as the name suggests, was built on the premise of an ecosystem. The device would open a user to an ecosystem and it was not just a smartphone. However, for a country like India, and even for many countries globally, this ecosystem isn’t ready yet. Paid content consumption hasn’t become big enough for a company to survive while earning nothing on the device itself,” Faisal Kawoosa, Principal Analyst, Telecoms, CyberMedia Research (CMR), told IANS.

On the contrary, if you see other handset brands, to an extent they too make money from content, but as value-added earnings — which is just a fraction of the actual earnings out of the device. For them, it is akin to average revenue per user (ARPU) of a telecom operator where the operator wants to earn more per user by offering additional services.

“LeEco came in to disrupt this business model and make the secondary streams of earnings as their primary. For that to happen, the ecosystem hasn’t arrived yet. So their positioning as well as proposition went wrong. It dismayed a user to see nothing extraordinary in terms of Device+ strategy,” Kawoosa added.

In August, LeEco announced a $7 million manufacturing unit in Greater Noida in the presence of IT and Electronics Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

“As the market size for electronics is expected to grow to $400 billion by 2020, it is imperative to promote indigenous manufacturing. LeEco is a name of global reputation and it is heartening to see it align with ‘Make in India’ after entering India just eight months earlier,” Prasad had told the gathering.

LeEco planned to ramp up the production to approximately 200,000 “superphones” per month by the end of 2016, before a severe financial crunch caught up with the company.

“I think there was a disconnect with their go-to-market strategy. Being an online player they spending was almost like a player with an offline distribution strategy. Although their products were good, it was the overall marketing strategy that led to quick cash-burn,” Tarun Pathak, Senior Analyst, Mobile Devices and Ecosystems at New Delhi-based Counterpoint Research, told IANS.

According to Kawoosa, for few years, LeEco should have positioned itself as a brand offering better specs of hardware at affordable prices.

“Eventually, as the ecosystem would have matured, they could have played the LeEco card,” Kawoosa told IANS.

For assembling/manufacturing in India, LeEco had partnered with the US-based company M2i which will continue to manufacture for others if, by any chance, LeEco doesn’t continue to manufacture in India.

“I would say, these experiments will go on and we may see brands coming in and out for manufacturing in India. For ‘Make in India’, I wouldn’t consider this as a blow yet,” Pathak noted.

Given the LeEco experience, other smartphone players need to look at their scale of operations and play to their strengths.

“Since India is a such a diverse market, one strategy doesn’t lead to guaranteed success throughout the country. With the smartphone segment being so competitive, and amidst razor-thin margins, brands need to watch their campaigns and invest wisely,” added Kawoosa.

“It is simply a case of an over-ambitious company going under,” Mehta noted.

By : Nishant Arora

(Nishant Arora can be contacted at [email protected])

Entertainment

Boycott Netflix India trends over Temple kissing scene in series ‘A Suitable Boy’, BJP’s Narottam Mishra orders probe

On Sunday Afternoon, netizens urged fellow citizen to #BoycottNetflix over a kissing scene in the Netflix series ‘A Suitable Boy’, directed by Mira Nair.

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A Suitable Boy Netflix Review

On Sunday Afternoon, netizens urged fellow citizen to #BoycottNetflix over a kissing scene in the Netflix series ‘A Suitable Boy’, directed by Mira Nair. A section of the internet has expressed its displeasure over the content shown in ‘A Suitable Boy’, starring Tabu, Ishaan Khatter, and Tanya Maniktala.

The outrage is over Tanya Maniktala’s character Lata kissing Danesh Razvi’s character Kabir Durrani in the series in a sequence shot in a temple. Lata hailed from a Hindu family and Kabir was a Muslim.

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra, who had recently announced that the state government will bring a Bill against ‘love jihad’ in the next Assembly session, has now directed the authorities to ‘examine the objectionable scenes’ in filmmaker Meera Nair’s web series ‘A Suitable Boy’.

Narottam Mishra tweeted, “A film titled ‘A Suitable Boy’ has been released on an OTT platform. It depicts extremely objectionable scenes that hurt the feelings of a particular religion. I have directed police officials to look into it.”

Youth BJP leader Gaurav Tiwari submitted a written complaint against the makers and demanded the registration of an FIR. He also urged netizens to boycott Netflix and slammed the makers.

“In ‘A Suitable Boy’ show, @NetflixIndia filmed kissing scenes in the temple courtyard thrice in a single episode. According to the script, a Hindu woman is in love with a Muslim young man, but why were all the kissing scenes shot in the temple courtyard? I have lodged an FIR in Rewa on this matter,” he tweeted.

Actor-TV personality Rahul Mahajan was among the others who expressed his displeasure over the scene. He wrote, “A Muslim man kissing a Hindu woman during the Ram Aarti was ‘creative freedom’. But when a Hindu man and Muslim women would kiss in a mosque during Azaan, this creative freedom would go missing.’

Here are the reactions of Netizens:

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Tech

NASA rover helps scientists find signs of megafloods on Mars

“The planet had the conditions needed to support the presence of liquid water on the surface — and on Earth, where there’s water, there’s life.

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NASA Curiosity rover

New York: Analysing data collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover, scientists have found that floods of unimaginable magnitude once washed through Gale Crater on Mars’ equator around four billion years ago.

The finding, published in the journal Scientific Reports, hints at the possibility that life may have existed on the Red Planet.

The raging megaflood — likely touched off by the heat of a meteoritic impact, which unleashed ice stored on the Martian surface — set up gigantic ripples that are tell-tale geologic structures familiar to scientists on Earth.

“We identified megafloods for the first time using detailed sedimentological data observed by the rover Curiosity,” said co-author Alberto Fairen, a visiting astrobiologist at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

“Deposits left behind by megafloods had not been previously identified with orbiter data.”

As is the case on Earth, geological features, including the work of water and wind have been frozen in time on Mars for about four billion years. These features convey processes that shaped the surface of both planets in the past.

This case includes the occurrence of giant wave-shaped features in sedimentary layers of Gale crater, often called “megaripples” or antidunes that are about 30-feet high and spaced about 450 feet apart, according to study lead author Ezat Heydari, Professor of Physics at Jackson State University in Mississippi, US.

The antidunes are indicative of flowing megafloods at the bottom of Mars’ Gale Crater about four billion years ago, which are identical to the features formed by melting ice on Earth about two million years ago, Heydari said.

The most likely cause of the Mars flooding was the melting of ice from the heat generated by a large impact, which released carbon dioxide and methane from the planet’s frozen reservoirs.

The water vapour and release of gases combined to produce a short period of warm and wet conditions on the red planet.

Condensation formed water vapour clouds, which in turn created torrential rain, possibly planetwide.

The Curiosity rover science team has already established that Gale Crater once had persistent lakes and streams in the ancient past.

These long-lived bodies of water are good indicators that the crater, as well as Mount Sharp within it, were capable of supporting microbial life.

“Early Mars was an extremely active planet from a geological point of view,” Fairen said.

“The planet had the conditions needed to support the presence of liquid water on the surface — and on Earth, where there’s water, there’s life.

“So early Mars was a habitable planet,” he said.

“Was it inhabited? That’s a question that the next rover Perseverance … will help to answer.”

Perseverance, which launched on July 30, is scheduled to reach Mars on February 18, 2021.

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Cities

Kerala makes cyber defamation punishable, 5-year jail term for ‘offensive’ post

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has claimed the decision was guided by growing abuse on social media targeting individuals.

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Arif Mohammad Khan

The Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has reportedly signed an ordinance to incorporate the controversial Section 118 (A) in the Kerala Police Act, making defamation, intimidation, and insulting of any person on social media, a punishable offence, with imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of Rs 10,000 or both.

As reported by LiveLaw, Khan’s office on Saturday confirmed that he had signed the Kerala Police Act Amendment ordinance made by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government under which, any individual who produces, publishes, or disseminates content through any means of communication to insult or defame any person through social media, has to face repercussions.

Advocate Anoop Kumaran, who had moved the Supreme Court in 2015 against another Section, 118(D) of the Act. “The government claims that Section 118(A) is meant to protect people, particularly women, from social media abuse. But in reality, the new law would be used by the authorities and government against those who criticise them,” the media quoted Kumaran as saying.

It is feared that the amendment could have a chilling effect on free speech giving more power to the police and restricting freedom of the press. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has claimed the decision was guided by growing abuse on social media targeting individuals.

The Kerala government had also claimed a rise in crimes, fake propaganda and hate speech on social media since the outbreak of Covid-19, and said the existing legal provisions were inadequate to fight them. It had argued that while the Supreme Court had repealed Section 118 (D) of the Kerala Police Act as well as Section 66-A of the IT Act, the Centre had not introduced any other legal framework to replace them.

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