Ninebot Inc., a Chinese maker of electric-powered people movers, agreed to acquire U.S. rival Segway Inc. to stimulate the development for short-distance transportation industry. Ninebot will apply electric driving, mobile Internet and man-machine interaction technologies into future products after establishing an alliance with Segway, said Gao Lufeng, Ninebot chief executive officer. The companies didn’t disclose terms.
“The strategic alliance with Ninebot will enable us to provide more intelligent and valuable products for our customers,” Segway President Rod Keller said in the statement.The announcement came after Xiaomi Corp., the Beijing-based smartphone maker that owns part of Ninebot, joined in an $80 million funding round for Ninebot that included Sequoia Capital and the Shunwei Foundation. Ninebot began two years ago as a crowd-funded project and its products are now available in more than 38 countries, with production facilities in China.
The U.S. International Trade Commission in November agreed to investigate a claim by Segway that Ninebot and several other Chinese companies infringed on its patents. Segway is seeking to block imports of the transporters and the investigation will probably take 15 to 18 months, according to an ITC statement in November.
Xiaomi has backed 27 startups under plans to invest in as many as 100.