China-based smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has announced the launch of Ninebot Mini, a Segway-like personal transport device for 1999 RMB ($314 USD). Compared to Segway’s most affordable model, the Segway i2 SE, which starts at $6,499 USD, it’s a significant play for a low-end market.
Segway’s electric vehicle company was founded in 2001, and was later acquired by its young Chinese imitator Ninebot in this April. Ninebot also scored $80 million USD funding from Chinese investors, including Xiaomi and Sequoia Capital.
Followng the acquisition of Segway Ninebot said its products are locally developed and manufactured in China and it will continue to independently own the intellectual rights. Analysts have been skeptical of Xiaomi’s investment in Ninebot, but the Chinese smartphone giant says it is part of its continuing plan to build out an ecosystem of Xiaomi-connected devices.
Xiaomi’s Ninebot mini and its disruptive price tag are evidence that the company is looking to expand in the low-cost consumer market, the same strategy they employ in smartphones.
The Ninebot Mini has a knee-high steering stick instead of a Segway-like handle. The electric-powered scooter can travel 22km on a single charge, with a 16km/h top speed, according to the company. It supports loads up to 85 kg, weighs 12.8 kg, and can traverse slopes up to 15 degrees.
Ninebot Mini also comes with a smartphone companion app, which notifies the user when the device is moved, a tactic aimed at promoting Xiaomi’s integrated IoT systems. The app also allows the user to control the movement of the scooter. Ninebot’s previous product, a higher-end vehicle much more similar to the original Segway, is currently still sold through Amazon, AliExpress and eBay for $2,993 USD.
Image Credit: Xiaomi