April 23, 2015

Scooter developer Segway purchased by Ninebot

By now, everyone has seen a Segway, those motorized scooters with two wheels and a vertical handle bar. Tours on the scooters have proliferated many metro areas, they've penetrated the media and become a transportation novelty. 

This week, it was announced that Chinese firm Ninebot has purchased Segway. Sequoia Capital, Shunwei Foundation and Xiaomi's MIUI Technology backed the deal with a reported $80 million in capital, though the total price of the acquisition was not disclosed. Segway and Ninebot made headlines together last year under very different circumstances, when Segway filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint against Ninebot for intellectual property infringement. Tech Times explains that the acquisition could make that old "animosity" water under the bridge moving forward with development and marketing efforts. 

"Segway will stand on its own in Ninebot's fold and the two companies will operate under their own brands, but the deal will help spur new technologies and products, according to Gao Lufeng, founder and CEO of Ninebot," reports Tech Times. "The combined powers of the two companies have the potential to develop new innovations in the market for short-distance transportation, he stated."

For a tech company like Segway, the question is how to parlay novelty into a broader application. While the devices have been embraced by theme parks and the tourism industry, they've yet to catch on as the commuter vehicles some early proponents imagined. 

As an international acquisition, the company will have a global expansion focus, seeking to infiltrate more markets around the world. 

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