China's LeEco to invest $1.8 billion in electric car factory

A sign is seen on all-electric battery "concept" car called LeSEE as it's unveiled by Jia Yueting (unseen), co-founder and head of Le Holdings Co Ltd, also known as LeEco and formerly as LeTV during a ceremony in Beijing, China April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Le Holdings Co Ltd, also known as LeEco, said on Wednesday it would invest 12 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) to build an electric car plant in eastern China with eventual annual production capacity of 400,000 cars.

The company said in a statement its first China factory would be built in two phases in Deqing county near the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Non-automakers and start-ups have rushed to begin making electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles as China’s central government liberalizes the industry to promote a switch to electricity as an ultimate replacement for petrol to fuel cars.

LeEco’s production facility will be part of a larger project to build an “Eco Experience Park” that will cost 20 billion yuan in total that will also include an entertainment park, facilities for internet-connected electric cars and offices, the statement said.

The company did not say when it planned to complete the factory.

LeEco also plans to produce cars at a plant being built near Las Vegas by U.S. strategic partner Faraday Future, in which LeEco founder Jia Yueting has invested.

($1 = 6.6355 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Jake Spring and Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Jacqueline Wong