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China's Coolpad, LeEco seek 100m smartphone sales a year

HONG KONG -- Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad Group aims to sell 100 million units annually within two years together with Beijing-based partner and media company Leshi Internet Information & Technology, or LeEco.

The sales target set Tuesday would be four times the aggregate total for the two companies in 2015, and it would boost their combined Chinese market share to third place behind leaders, including Huawei. LeEco, a provider of online videos, also sells smartphones under its own brand. The partners plan to sell 50 million to 60 million smartphones this year.

Coolpad and LeEco are merging research and development functions as well as supply chains. The two seek to lift the share of online sales from 20% overall to 50%.

The partners this month will launch the Cool 1 smartphone, a low-cost device they developed jointly to target the younger demographic. The Cool 1 will be priced lower than Coolpad's other handsets, which can cost over 2,000 yuan ($300), or LeEco's lineup, which runs between 1,500 yuan and 2,000 yuan, Coolpad Vice President Jiang Chao told reporters in Hong Kong.

LeEco invested in Coolpad last summer, then lifted the stake to roughly 29% as of this month, becoming the largest shareholder. LeEco founder Jia Yueting took over as Coolpad's chairman Friday. LeEco said in July it will spend $2 billion to acquire U.S. television maker Vizio.

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