Founded in 2002, consumer tech company Vizio came out of nowhere (well, actually Irvine, CA) to become one of the top-selling makers of TVs and sound bars in the U.S.—thanks to bargain prices in big-box stores like Costco. (It was named one of FastCo’s Most Innovative Companies in 2010.) Vizio just put the company itself on sale, announcing a deal today with Chinese tech conglomerate LeEco for $2 billion.
LeEco has been a bit of a chameleon in the Chinese tech scene, starting as a YouTube-like video streaming service, then branching into TVs, smartphones, and even autonomous cars. LeEco’s design for a smart bicycle got it on the Most Innovative Companies of 2016 roster.
The LeEco deal will help Vizio crack into the huge Chinese consumer electronics market. That complements the recent push by Chinese CE companies like Hisense and TCL into the U.S., for instance, in their Roku TVs. Vizio’s Inscape Data Services division will spin out as a separate company under Vizio founder William Wang. (by Sean Captain)MB