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LeSports to embark on staff cutting mission

Chinese internet company LeEco has said it will cut 10 per cent of staff from its LeSports division amid ongoing concerns over rising debt.

According to the Reuters news agency, a LeEco spokeswomen said cuts will be made to a number departments inside the sports unit, which focuses on content streaming and events operation including the LeSports OTT platform.

LeSports has approximately 1,000 staff, while LeEco employs many thousands more.

Last month, LeEco secured $600m (€568.2m) in funding, easing concerns over the sustainability of its expansion into multiple new business areas.

The news came after LeEco chief executive Jia Yueting in November said in a letter to staff that the firm is facing “big company disease”, casting doubt over its future in sectors such as online entertainment.

Speaking last week at a sports business event in China, LeSports chief executive Lei Zhenjian acknowledged that the company was facing an uncertain future.

Zhenjian said: “Funding is a problem that every cross-sector company will always face. We undoubtedly are facing funding pressure everyday right now but this will be an impetus and test for us.”

LeSports streams coverage of various major events and in September expanded its portfolio by acquiring rights in Hong Kong and Macau to North American basketball league the NBA. The five-season deal runs from 2016-17 to 2020-21.

Reuters added that LeSports will establish an independent company in 2017 to oversee its sports management business.