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Adam Minter

Segway's Second Chance in China

China is in desperate need of the sort of transportation revolution that Segways once promised.
Beyond the mall cop.

Beyond the mall cop.

Photographer: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Segways are a revolutionary mode of transportation embraced by mall cops and helmeted tourists, but seemingly very few others. Some cities have banned them. A U.S. president has toppled off of one. And in 2010 the company’s (then) owner accidentally drove his off a cliff. Yet despite these setbacks, and sales that have never approached expectations, Ninebot, a Chinese Segway competitor, announced last week that it was purchasing Segway for an undisclosed sum.

The sale marks a second chance for Segway. In a different way, it also marks a second chance for Chinese commuters.