LeEco meltdown: Shanghai freezes $182 million in assets – China’s latest business and technology news

Business & Technology

A summary of the top news in Chinese business and technology for July 5, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

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A court in Shanghai has “frozen $182 million in assets tied to the chairman of the Chinese technology company LeEco after one of its affiliates missed loan payments,” according to the New York Times (paywall). LeEco and its chairman, Jia Yueting 贾跃亭, are in the midst of a months-long downward spiral of risky loans and overly ambitious expansion plans. LeEco, which started as a small video-streaming company in 2004, had aimed to expand to a dizzying range of products, including drones, electric and self-driving cars, “smart” bikes, and VR headsets, while simultaneously launching an ambitious expansion program in the U.S.

For now, a spokesman for the company says it has enough collateral to cover immediate debts, but the long-term health of LeEco — and the government’s support of billionaires such as Jia — is certainly in question.

Jia may be remembered for his 2016 statements saying that Apple was “outdated” and “losing momentum.”