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First he slams Apple, now Chinese tech rival moves onto its turf

Fresh from denouncing Apple as outdated, Chinese tech billionaire Jia Yueting has taken the fight to Apple's turf, setting up shop in Silicon Valley.

Jia's company LeEco opened a new 80,000-square-foot North American headquarters in San Jose, California, on Thusday, to the cheers of Chinese fans who praised the company for pushing to lead, rather than follow, U.S. brands.

As one Weibo poster called ZhouxinZoe put it, "LeEco's America landing battles will start from here...they are fighting the war on U.S. soil...it's a new battle, cover your eyes and run madly, just go for it!"

Others congratulated LeEco on its boldness in "walking out of the door of China."

According to a release, the new HQ will house 800 new workers and will also be the future home of LeEco's autonomous driving research centre.

In the release, Jia said Silicon Valley was "critically important" to LeEco's global growth strategy.

"We're looking forward to sharing our vision of one connected ecosystem with U.S. consumers," he said.

Speaking to CNBC at a summit of business leaders in Jinan, China, at the weekend, the entrepreneur said he was not concerned by Silicon Valley-based rivals such as Apple.

"We think the difference between us and Apple is very large. Apple is a mobile phone company focused on hardware and software," Jia said. "LeShi [another name for LeEco] is focused on the internet first, and only then on software, and finally on hardware."

He dismissed Apple's product design as no longer innovative, saying that he believed the next generation of mobile internet would be "more open, more ecosystem-oriented instead of being a closed loop."

LeEco, formerly known as LeTV, sells products ranging from video streaming to smartphones and, most recently, electric cars. It launched the autonomous, smart LeSEE car at this week's Beijing Auto Show, and in the future Jia hopes to sell content such as movies to LeSee drivers as part of a "LeEco ecosystem."

Jia's comments about Apple came just before the Cupertino, California, company released disappointing second-quarter earnings, prompting investors to wipe $46 billion off its market capitalization amid fears Apple's popularity in China was waning.

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