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.

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Eva Yoo

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at evayoo@technode.com