A startup company out of China is hoping to make electric scooters as commonplace as Tesla is making the electric car and is about to finally go public in New York.
Niu Technologies filed Monday for a $150 million initial public offering in the U.S. Shares are set to be traded on the Nasdaq under the ticker NIU.
Produced in the southeastern Chinese province of Jiangsu, Niu scooters stand out from other brands in China for their sleek, sporty design, relatively higher quality, customer service and technology that guards against theft. For example, Niu owners can use a smartphone app to track the real-time GPS location of a scooter, and get notifications whenever the battery is removed, or the scooter is tampered with. Its brand name "xiao niu" implies coolness in Mandarin as well.
Like Tesla, Niu still operates at a net loss. But its net loss margin narrowed from 65.6 percent in 2016 to 24 percent last year, or 184.7 million yuan ($27.9 million), according to Niu's prospectus.Excluding share-based compensation expenses and a change in convertible loan fair value, the net loss margin was 8.3 percent in the first six months of this year, versus 14 percent a year ago.
Wang Xiao Pian, 38, said she began selling Niu scooters in 2015 and opened a store in Beijing's central east Dongcheng district in April 2017. She said the store sold more than 300 scooters in August, and at least as many in September so far.
Most sales are driven by word-of-mouth and store promotions, Wang said. She added that Niu management holds online and offline training session for her staff of six roughly every two weeks, and frequently sends representatives to check on the store's appearance.
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