Segway-Ninebot is Selling Well Overseas, Hit by Policy Restriction in Headquarter City
According to new regulations, the electric scooter is forbidding on the road in Beijing. For Segway-Ninebot, the scooter business is the cash cow, and robotics will be the next develop engine. Gao Lufeng said, his company will launch IPO in the next 1-2 years.
Segway-Ninebot (赛格威-纳恩博), a Beijing-based developer of intelligent short-distance transportation products including electric scooter and robotics, claimed that its revenue will surpass CNY 3 billion in 2018, a huge increase compares with the year of 2017. The company’s selling has been exploding with more and more electric scooter-rental startups become the hungry purchasers.
But, according to the new Regulations on the Administration of Non-motor Vehicles in Beijing, the electric scooter is forbidding on the road, and users caught by traffic authorities will be fined CNY 200 each time, plus possible confiscation of the scooter. The new policy has been formally implemented since November 1, 2018, and several cases have been exposed by media in the past month.
In April 2015, Ninebot acquired Segway and formed the new company with support from paramour investors including Xiaomi and Sequoia Capital China. Segway-Ninebot secured USD 100 million round C funding at a valuation more than USD 1 billion in October 2017, added China Mobile Innovation Industry Fund, SDIC Fund, two state-owned companies as its investors.
GAO Lufeng (高禄峰), CEO of Segway-Ninebot, is an entrepreneur with political sensitivity, has a good relationship with the government, has been invited to high-rank conferences organized by governments several times as a private economy representative. Segway-Ninebot, a unicorn exporting tens of thousands of scooters to U.S. and Europe, a pioneer of The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), are regarded highly by the local governments.
Lime and Bird, two largest electric scooter-rental startups in the U.S., Grin, a new scooter-sharing startup in Mexico, purchase lot of products from Segway-Ninebot; and SEAT, a Spanish company revealed a new e-scooter designed with Segway, and more startups are entering into scooter-sharing business worldwide, mostly will use products from Segway-Ninebot.
GAO Lufeng has been very busy in the past half year to satisfy demands from partners, to prepare the risks posed by the trade war between the U.S. and China, and to expand more overseas markets. A friend familiar with Segway-Ninebot told EqualOcean GAO Lufeng has suspended the new round funding which first rumored this June, because Segway-Ninebot sells very good, GAO Lufeng wants to wait and expect a higher valuation.
As of October 2018, Segway-Ninebot has more than 2000 employees worldwide, it holds more than 1000 patents in the area of short-distance transportation. Segway-Ninebot was valued at USD 1.5 billion, expect to reach more than USD 2 billion valuations soon.
Mainland competitors such as Okai and Inmotion are trying to catch up with Segway-Ninebot, Uber and Skip have selected vehicles from other makers like Fitrider and Minimotors, and many partners said they plan to develop their own scooters. For Segway-Ninebot, the scooter business is the cash cow, and robotics will be the next develop engine. Gao Lufeng said, his company will launch IPO in the next few years.
-Author: YuanPu; write to YuanPu at YuanPu@EqualOcean.com