This is the tale of Ninebot.
Like many of the most successful companies in China, Ninebot wasn’t the birth child of invention. It didn’t come from identifying a problem and developing an innovative solution.
Rather, it was much simpler:
“Ooooh! Look at that shiny thing! So cool!”
Pauses to think.
“You know what? I bet I could make the same thing here in China… but just a little cheaper. Maybe even improve it a bit…”
I’m just glad they didn’t slap a Hello Kitty on it.
Look familiar? Segway thought so too.
It launched a lawsuit in response, but without much conviction. Segway had a much bigger problem on its mind, because, well… Segway was very, very lame. Mostly due to:
- Repeated accidents (George W Bush crashed in one)
- Association with lazy/entitled people (Ever seen Mall Cop or Arrested Development?)
- General bad luck (Segway’s owner died running his Segway off a cliff… Seriously.)
Meanwhile, Ninebot was making money hand over fist. China ate up the Segway concept, and begged for more. Soon, Ninebot was rolling out whole new product lines.
Uh, I mean, Ninebots.
Ninebot even secured 80 million dollars in funding from Xiaomi, a China electronics giant and its products began flying off the shelves. Ninebot was doing so well, in fact, that they decided to go a bit crazy and…
They bought Segway. The entire company.
Needless to say, not only is that a giant middle finger to the original company…
…that’s also the coolest way to get rid of a lawsuit.