Very recently an Asian technology company known as Ninebot participated in an $80 million dollar buyout of the Segway, that funky looking motorized skateboard with a pole in the middle. Segway has for a long time been ridiculed and has often been at the center of jokes; they aren’t all that popular.
A Chinese tech blog got a hold of the founder of Ninebot named Wang Ye and they had a little interview; Wang made it very clear that he not only bought out Segway for the recognizable brand name but also for the patents. Ninebot has a branch called Xioami which is a smartphone and technology producer. Wang hopes that with Xiaomi and the proper marketing strategies they can give the Segway a better name.
Here we have little snippets of the interview conducted with Wang Ye.
What Benefits Will The Acquisition Bring?
Wang’s answer: Xiaomi and Ninebot is very young and thus has trouble acquiring and applying for patents, therefore buying Segway was a great move because they already have all of the required patents. It also has to do with branding; Wang wants to sell something that already has made a big name for itself because everybody in North America and Europe knows what a Segway is. As for the technology, Wang says that their own tech is already far more advanced than the Segway itself.
What Will The Competitive Landscape Be Like In The Future
Wang’s answer: There isn’t really much competition because they are all so different; it isn’t about replacing each other Wang says, it’s about supporting each other. Wang says that their market is strong because with these new electric scooters people don’t have to worry about leaving it outside in the rain, getting it damaged, or stolen. Wang says that one of the biggest advantages is that electric scooters can go anywhere including inside from one room to another.
Are They Mobile On The Roadside?
Wang’s answer: Not really, in China they aren’t allowed on most city streets which is also the case in England and Sweden; in Germany you even need a license to ride a self-balancing scooter. Wang says that he believes that these self-balancing scooters will eventually be accepted.
How Big Is The Market And Who Are The Targets?
Wang’s answer: There is a really big market for the self-balancing scooters; electric scooters were shipped in mass domestically last year, up to 30 million of them. Wang says if self-balancing scooters could make up 10 percent of the electric scooter market then all will be good. The target market seems to be young and affluent males.
Ninebot’s Ultimate Goals
Wang says that the ultimate goal of Ninebot is not to stop at self-balancing scooters but to make actual robots. They have made many robots for things such as education and healthcare but now they are working with an unknown Fortune 500 company to produce a revolutionary new robot, the nature of which is still unknown.