Apple is losing momentum in China because it is “outdated,” claimed billionaire entrepreneur Jia Yueting in his first international television interview with CNBC. Yueting serves Chinese conglomerate LeEco (formerly LeTV) as its chief executive and chairman.
Apple products relevant no more?
LeEco is popularly known as the “Netflix of China,” but it offers a range of products which includes mountain bikes, televisions, smartphones and more recently, electric vehicles. LeEco designed a smart, self-driving LeSEE, supercar that it launched last week with the intent of taking on the Tesla Model S.
Yueting was present at a meeting of the China Entrepreneur Club, which is an exclusive summit of business leaders, where he explained why he does not see foreign rivals as a challenge, especially Apple, which is rumored to be working on expanding its ecosystem beyond consumer technology to driverless cars.
Speaking at the weekend event in Jinan, Jia said, “We think the difference between us and Apple is very large. Apple is a mobile phone company focused on hardware and software. LeShi [another name for LeEco] is focused on the internet first, and only then on software, and finally on hardware.”
He added that Apple’s product designs are obsolete as well. The executive also said Apple just has individual apps and that they were the right choice during the first-generation of mobile as then, the speeds of CPUs and mobile networks were not fast enough, but with the next era of mobile Internet, these problems have ended.
“Moreover, having separate apps just means great obstacles in the user experience. We hope to break down these obstacles,” the executive said.
Apple hindering innovation
Yueting noted that the sale of Apple products in its second-biggest market China have deteriorated. He believes the innovation at Apple has become extremely slow, and this is the main reason for its slowing sales.
Referring to the recently launched iPhone SE, Yueting said, “From an industry insider’s perspective, this is a product with a very low level of technology…We think this is something they just shouldn’t have done.”
Being an industry leader, the iPhone maker should be developing more cutting-edge products, the executive said.
“Ironically, Apple’s over-dominance, lack of internet-thinking and the closed off nature of its systems, all hindered innovation in the internet mobile industry,” Yueting said.
People at LeEco believe the next generation of mobile internet will not only be more open but also more ecosystem-oriented instead of being a closed loop. Yueting hopes the latest evolution of the “LeEco ecosystem” will help sell content to LeSEE drivers, including movies, TV shows and music.