In its continued bid to become a lifestyle brand and not just a phone manufacturer, Xiaomi has announced today that it is investing in Ninebot, a Chinese robotics company that earlier today acquired Segway. Xiaomi is one of several investors including Shunwei Capital, Sequoia Capital and WestSummit Capital that have contributed $80 million in funding to the Beijing-based Ninebot.
Founded in 2012, Ninebot creates self-balancing personal transportation devices, much like Segway. The two companies haven't had the best track record, with Segway's founder alleging patent fraud against the Chinese vendor last year. However, it looks like things have smoothed out between the two organizations after that. Post the acquisition, Segway will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ninebot, with both brands functioning separately.
As for Xiaomi, the Ninebot investment underscores the Chinese handset vendor's continued foray into the IoT and connected devices sector, which thus far has included investments in iHealth Labs, Misfit, Pebbles Interfaces along with appliance maker Midea. In a statement, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun said:
I am in full belief that the new team with combination of talents and technology from China and America, will make a miracle to be one of the world-class company in the future.