THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NINEBOT AND SEGWAY
There has been some confusion surrounding the difference between Segway and Ninebot, which can only really be blamed on those companies. Or company. Because they are the same company. However, the company has offered little consistency in naming the Ninebot-Segway ES2. Officially, they call it the "Ninebot ES2 Kickscooter by Segway"; but then call it both the Ninebot-Segway and Segway-Ninebot in different marketing materials. But, read on, dear reader, for it gets stranger still when you throw in Xiaomi.
The ES2 Electric Scooter
History of Segway & Ninebot
Segway Inc. was founded by American inventor Dean Kamen in 1999. It became famous for its two-wheeled powered transporter, the Segway PT, which was launched in December 2001 (with first deliveries in 2002). Ninebot Inc. was founded in 2012 by a group of Chinese robotic nerds who had already been developing and showcasing various technologies. However, Segway felt that Ninebot's designs for a self-balancing powered transporter was too similar to the Segway, so sued them for breaching intellectual property.
How did Ninebot react to this court action? They decided to raise enough money - mostly from Xiaomi - so that they could simply buy out Segway. Thus Ninebot bought out Segway in 2015. So, you now have a situation where the two most popular models of e-scooter - the Segway ES2 and the Xiaomi M365 - are both effectively owned by the same company: Xiaomi. This is why the M365 is manufactured by Ninebot, much to the confusion of everyone except Ninebot and Xiaomi. It is a strange world we live in.
The Original Segway
Ninebot could have avoided all this confusion by simply marketing (in the West at least) products like the ES2 using the Segway brand name alone; without insisting on adding the Ninebot name. That would have have avoided all the confusion surrounding the ES2 and who makes it. They would probably argue that they have a long-term strategy of boosting their own brand so that, eventually, they will not have to rely so heavily on the Segway brand but, as they own Segway, this would seem unnecessary - unless, of course, they intend to sell on Segway at some point. A comparison of the Ninebot-Segway ES2 and Xiaomi M365 can be found here.
This article originally appearered on Scootered.