On our way to the gym on Sunday, Shanghaiist spotted two men riding what appeared to be Segway Human Transporters in front of the Xintiandi Starbucks. And we thought, Great, Shanghai needs more motorized vehicles on its already cluttered sidewalks. The men were meandering around, attracting stares from curious onlookers. A couple people approached the Segwayers and they handed out business cards. Could China be the next country Segway slowly rolls into (and fails to generate enough sales to survive)? According to Segway’s official site, there are no Segway distributors in Mainland China — Taiwan is the closest.
Assuming these Segways are not fakes — a rather large assumption to make in China — cost could prohibit the vehicles from catching on here. They range in price from $4,000 to $6,000. Although, we could see Shanghai’s nouveau riche tooling around on the things just to show rest of us they can’t be bothered with pedestrian pursuits … like walking. Another thing that might slow sales here: People on Segways look like idiots (this publication calls them “faggy scooterettes”). Arrested Development did a good job of demonstrating this.
Because of its failure to catch on, Segway has started selling the rights to its “smart-motion technology” to third party manufacturers. Their first customer was Hong Kong-based Wow Wee, makers of Robosapien, “a fusion of technology and personality.”
Shanghaiist wonders if there have been other Segway sightings throughout the city. Have you seen one? A friend saw a similar product, a two-wheel version of Toyota’s concept vehicle called i-Swing at the Shanghai Auto Show in May. Yikes.