Says he's staying in the U.S. for fundraiser
Faraday Future investor and co-founder of LeEco Jia Yueting has defied an order by the Chinese government to return to China and deal with his company’s debts. According to a report from the BBC, the Chinese government originally gave Jia until the end of 2017 to return to China. However, the former chief executive of LeEco responded via social media saying that he will remain in the U.S. to focus on Faraday Future. Jia also said that his brother and wife in China were authorized to represent him on his behalf.
Before the end of 2017, Jia was added on the Chinese government’s official list of debt defaulters, reportedly having millions of dollars in unpaid loans. LeEco was known as the Netflix of China, streaming content before eventually making its own originals. It branched to hardware later on such as smart TVs, mobile phones, and even electric vehicles. By 2016, the company had started selling its products in the U.S. but it was eventually forced to cut back and slash jobs to reduce costs due to mounting debts. Faraday Future, Jia’s other electric car venture with ties to LeEco, halted plans for a Nevada factory. LeEco also recently pulled out of a joint project with Aston Martin for the all-electric RapidE sedan.
Jia blames LeEco’s debts on a bank that sued him for being two weeks overdue on a $30 million USD interest payment. On Weibo, which is a social media platform in China, Jia revealed that Faraday Future needs his attention, stating that a fundraising effort for the EV startup is “making significant progress and there are many tasks that I need to push forward.” In late December it was reported that Faraday had secured a $1 billion USD in funding, but so far the startup has yet to confirm the investment.
In May 2017, Jia resigned from LeEco where he was chief executive but remains company chairman. Last July a court in Shanghai blocked assets that belonged to him, his wife, and three affiliates.