Chinese rival firm Ninebot buys Segway

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Tourists ride on a Segway in Rio de Janeiro, BrazilImage source, AFP
Image caption,
Segway was founded in 2001 but has since struggled to become profitable

Chinese vehicle maker Ninebot has bought iconic US rival Segway, the company announced on Wednesday.

The Beijing-based firm did not disclose the amount of the acquisition, but did say that it received $80m (£54m) in funding from smartphone maker Xiaomi and investment firm Sequoia Capital.

Ninebot also makes two-wheeled electric vehicles, designed for standing riders, that resemble Segways.

Segway had sought an import ban against Ninebot in the US in September.

The Chinese company was one of several that Segway had accused of infringing its patents.

In a statement, the companies said that both brands would continue to operate under their existing names.

"It [the acquisition] creates a development opportunity for the short-distance transportation industry, which the combined company will lead by widely applying a series of technologies, such as electric driving, mobile internet and human-computer interaction on future products," said Ninebot chief executive Lufeng Gao.

Segway was founded by Dean Kamen in 2001 with much fanfare, but struggled to become profitable.

It was bought by Summit Strategic Investments for an undisclosed amount in 2013.