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China's LeEco snaps up Vizio for $2 billion

Los Angeles-based Vizio gets acquired by a Chinese tech giant

Vizio P Series TVs come with Smartcast tablet remotes. Credit: Vizio

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Chinese tech giant LeEco agreed to snap up Southern California based Vizio, Inc. for $2 billion.

Vizio is a manufacturer of low-cost, but high quality TVs that are a staple of hotel rooms and sold at stores like Costco and Wal-Mart, while LeEco is best known for making smartphones and has ambitions to do self-driving electric cars as well.

On its home page, LeEco says its vision of the future "connects everything that matters to modern consumers. We believe that all people deserve access to premium products, so we’re bringing down the cost without lowering quality. "

The companies say that the VIZIO hardware and software businesses will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of LeEco, while Vizio's data business, Inscape, will be spin out as a separate, privately owned company.

At a press event here, Vizio CEO William Wang recalled mortgaging his home in 2002 to start Vizio. "I’m excited to see how LeEco’s global reach and resources will elevate Vizio as we continue to bring great technology, innovation and value to our consumers.”

Wang will be stepping down as Vizio CEO to focus on the "expansion and growth" of the data business.

Based in Irvine, California, the heart of Orange County, Vizio has long done marketing and design in the United States, with production of its TV sets and sound bars in China and Mexico. Beyond Wang, the companies said the Vizio executive management team would remain in place and continue operations as an independent unit.