Jia Yueting, the founder of LeEco has declined to return to China. Yueting was called back home to answer questions about his company’s uncertain financial situation. However, he has now decided to remain in the US.
According to Reuters, Jia Yueting has opted to remain in the US despite being asked to return to his homeland by China’s Securities Regulatory Commission. Yueting says he is unable to return back to China since he is focused on raising funds for Faraday Future, an electric car startup supported by LeEco. In a statement, Jia has confirmed that he had asked his brother, Jia Yuemin, to report back to authorities.
“I am deeply sorry and blame myself for the negative impact of LeEco’s debt crisis,” Yueting said in a statement posted on his WeChat account.
LeEco was an upstart that began its journey as an entertainment company and it was widely recognized as the Netflix of China. However, its founder Yueting desired to expand company’s reach into other segments including launching smartphones that pinned to its content ecosystem and launching a Tesla rival in the form of Faraday Future. However, most reports have suggested the company ended up burning cash in the process of establishing businesses and had no financial structure in place to justify the spending.
2017 was a rather disappointing year for the company with LeEco retreating from most markets and forced to sell-off assets and fire employees in order to pay off its debts. Despite the finding, Yueting maintains that LeEco was a profitable venture and he was placed on an official blacklist of defaulters in order to force him to repay his debts.
Jia has decided to remain in the US for now but there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered. It is not clear how much money LeEco owes to its lenders and it is also not clear whether Faraday Future, which has lost key talents, has the pedigree to stay relevant in the automotive business and launch its FF91 electric car.