China's LeTV to Launch Smartphone as Financials Rise

'Coming Home,' Zhang Yimou (Out of Competition)

Chinese veteran Zhang Yimou has appeared in competition in Cannes three times before -- winning the Jury Grand Prix in 1994 for To Live. His latest, his 12th collaboration with muse Gong Li, is a romantic drama set against the backdrop of China’s cultural revolution. Coming Home will play out of competition in Cannes but is certain to attract attention as the sole Chinese film in selection, especially after receiving the stamp of approval from Sony Classics, which has picked up Coming Home for multiple territories, including North America. (Sales: Wild Bunch)

The entertainment company, whose LeVision Pictures film unit is a growing force, expects revenue to rise by up to 210 percent in its latest fiscal year.

Chinese entertainment company LeTV plans to introduce its own smartphone in the next 100 days and expects an increase in revenue of up to 210 percent in fiscal year 2014.

The decision to go into the smartphone market is the latest sign of growing overlap between the entertainment industry in China and technology platforms. In China, 60 percent of people now access content via mobile platforms, such as cellphones and tablets.

LeTV's film unit, LeVision Pictures, was a significant investor in The Expendables 3 and also produced Zhang Yimou movie Coming Home. It has a stake in the wildly successful Tiny Times franchise and is involved in John Woo's recently released epic The Crossing.

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In December, LeVision Pictures picked up its first U.S. project, an epic fantasy adventure entitled 8 Immortals inspired by Chinese mythology from writer Jeremy Breslau, the first in its plan to co-produce China-Hollywood blockbusters.

The group is led by CEO Jia Yueting. In October, it launched an office in L.A., as well as a $200 million film fund to make tentpoles. The group appointed Feng Xing, former vp of PC-maker Lenovo, as president of the group's LeTV Smart Mobile.

Feng outlined the group's strategy and said LeTV Super Smart Phones would be launched within 100 days. Among the design team were over 1,000 people from leading Chinese tech firms, including Lenovo, Xiaomi and Meizu.

LeTV's daily and monthly unique visits during December ranked the company third among all video streaming websites in China. He said the LeTV Super Smart Phone would complete the company's plan to develop an ecosystem of "platform, content, terminal and application."

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In an earnings pre-announcement, LeTV said that the company's consolidated revenue in 2014 was expected to come in at $1.059 billion-$1.172 billion, up by between 180 percent and 210 percent year over year.

Net profit attributable to shareholders of the listed company is projected to be $49 million-$53 million, up 20 percent-30 percent year over year.