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Yet Another Entry in China’s Saturated Smartphone Market

With the launch this week of Internet company LeTV‘s rather impressive-looking line of smartphones, China’s Xiaomi might have just found itself some real competition.

While largely unknown outside of China, the company is an extremely popular and fast-growing video streaming powerhouse that has begun expanding aggressively into the consumer electronics market (as Xiaomi has already done). And in doing so, demonstrating that perhaps there is room for more players to jostle for the top spot in China’s smartphone market.

The launch included three models—Le1, Le1 Pro, and LeMax—each in their own price bracket, which, along with specs, should make a variety of users happy.

The lower-end Le1 is competitively priced, starting at approximately US$245, and is notably cheaper than Xiaomi’s comparable Mi Note. All total, these devices brought in 1.2 million pre-orders in less than two days. More than just a bit impressive.

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Like Xiaomi’s line of smartphones, LeTV’s offer some great features for the price. Some of its standouts include a USB Type-C connection for charging (the company claims this is the first phone to ever feature this), plus metal construction and bezel-less screens.

Looking beyond the tech aspects, LeTV’s competitive edge lies in its offer of free Internet, subscription-based “instant” streaming video content, and a live TV option to its smartphone users.

Digital Trends reports that the company plans to sell at least one of its flagship smartphone models in the United States, while offering a similar subscription service for accessing streamed content. LeTV has apparently set up several offices in the United States for this very purpose, and its target audience is said to be primarily overseas Chinese and Chinese-speaking Americans.

These smartphones are not LeTV’s first foray into the world of tech gadgetry. In 2013, the company introduced a line of smart televisions, along with content set-top boxes (STBs) for online video watching. However, the sale of these boxes was banned about a year later by regulators.

Also announced by LeTV was its ongoing development of an electric car, as well as its partnering with Aston Martin at the Shanghai Auto Show. As part of the deal, the company will supply the British automaker with in-car entertainment technology.

The company currently boasts approximately 5,000 employees and is valued at US$12 billion on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. This, combined with news that it will soon have a U.S. headquarters in Silicon Valley (along with an office in Los Angeles), gives LeTV a very real chance to make a name for itself outside of China.

H/T: Digital Trends