Tags: segway | ninebot | scooter | maker | bought

Segway, Ninebot: US Scooter Maker Bought by Chinese Rival

Image: Segway, Ninebot: US Scooter Maker Bought by Chinese Rival
Chinese police patrol Tiananmen Square on Chinese-maid Segways in Beijing on March 3, 2015. (Stephen Shaver/UPI/Landov, file)  

By    |   Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 06:42 AM

Segway, best known as the creator of a two-wheel electric scooter on which riders balance upright, has been purchased by its Chinese rival Ninebot Inc.

The companies did not disclose the purchase price, Bloomberg Business reported, but the deal occurred after Xiaomi Corp., another Chinese firm that owns part of Ninebot, provided $80 million to Ninebot.

Segway President Rod Keller said the American company owns more than 400 patents connected with its devices and Gao Lufeng, Ninebot chief executive officer, hinted at a news conference that the Segway purchase would include access to those patents.

"Ninebot is a fast-growing short-distance transportation company backed by well-known investors," said Keller. "The combination of Ninebot and Segway will bring together industry-leading research, development, engineering and manufacturing."

Time magazine noted the purchase comes seven months after Segway filed a trade complaint against Ninebot and other Chinese companies for violating its patents, which Ninebot denied. The purchase would likely stop the fighting between the two companies, noted the magazine.

"The Ninebot-Segway deal makes a lot of sense as it relates to China," Time's Jack Linshi wrote. "Ninebot and its backers want to put an end to not only the copyright feud with Segway, but also to a larger, nationwide controversy that Segway called China's 'widespread pattern of infringement' – or what’s also been labeled 'copycat China.'"

Linshi said the bigger question remains if the Segway can catch on in China despite its failure to catch on in any significant way in the United States.

"It's possible. And perhaps they already have," Linshi wrote for Time. "Chinese cops can sometimes be seen riding Segways and other electric scooters, and consumers there appear to have taken to the vehicles more than Americans have. In fact, former high-ranking leader Bo Xilai reportedly gifted his son a Segway, and tourists can often be seen renting Segways to zoom around cities from one destination to the next."

Gao said the transaction represents a new future for Segway, noted the BBC News.

"It [the acquisition] creates a development opportunity for the short-distance transportation industry, which the combined company will lead by widely applying a series of technologies, such as electric driving, mobile internet and human-computer interaction on future products," said Gao.

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Segway, best known as the creator of a two-wheel electric scooter on which riders balance upright, has been purchased by its Chinese rival Ninebot Inc.
segway, ninebot, scooter, maker, bought
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2015-42-16
Thursday, 16 Apr 2015 06:42 AM
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