Über das Crowdfunding
Das chinesische Startup NIU hat einen neuen Elektro-Roller entwickelt. Für den Launch des ersten Rollers „N-Series“ wurde 2015 ein Vorverkaufs-Crowdfunding gestartet. In der Kampagne konnten innerhalb von 15 Tagen umgerechnet 11 Mio. US-Dollar eingesammelt werden. Für den Markteintritt des zweiten Roller-Modells „M-Series“ wurden 2016 in einem weiteren Crowdfunding 13 Mio. US-Dollar eingesammelt. Damit handelt es sich nach Angaben von NIU um Chinas größtes Vorverkaufs-Crowdfunding. Die Kampagne wurde auf der Crowdfunding-Seite von JD.com durchgeführt. JD.com ist Chinas zweitgrößter Onlinehändler.
Interview mit Token Hu, Co-Founder NIU
What is the idea behind NIU?
NIU is a moto brand created by technology entrepreneurs that want to change the way urban citizens commute about and explore the cities within which they live. Using the latest connected technologies, combined with world-class motors (Bosch) and batteries (Panasonic, i.e. the same batteries Tesla uses), we have designed the next generation of affordable urban mobility devices.
Why did you decide to presell NIU at the jd.com crowdfunding platform?
Our core market in China is the urban millennial. These target customers have become so accustomed to shopping online, and the JD crowdfunding portal is a marketplace for the customers who want to have the “newest” gadget or technology.
How accepted is crowdfunding in China at the moment?
China crowdfunding is growing rapidly, and has seen an influx of websites helping companies get started, especially during the past 18 months. As the space matures and people feel comfortable with pre-funding a project, we should see even stronger growth in the coming year.
The first campaign reached $11 Million USD. in two weeks. How did you reach the people? How did you create the momentum?
Prior to our campaign we had the good fortune to hold a keynote press event in Beijing where we were able to get the attention of the local media to help us build a groundswell. We are also fortunate that our team has built relationships with these media over the years, and they were excited to write about such a game-changing product for the China market. In the months leading up to the launch our team was actively building a fan-base in Weibo and Wechat to assist on the launch day, to help build the momentum. As the two week campaign grew, we harnessed a lot of JD.com’s traffic to help build the success. So, in short, pre-launch fan building, followed by a two-week press preview to build buzz, a great launch day offer, and then website momentum.
Do you think that the crowdfunding campaign helped to build the NIU brand?
For sure. Launching via the JD.com portal set us apart from the competition. In fact, many in the industry thought we were setting ourselves up for failure by launching online. But, we were confident that our core customer was discovering new brands on JD, and knew that this would help establish ourselves as trendsetting and technology driven scooter company – something customers desired but could not find on the market until we launched in 2015.
People cannot experience the product beforehand when shopping online. Do you think that selling scooters online will work out in the long run? The driving experience seems to be the main differentiator?
As we grow our brand in China and globally, we understand that there needs to be a mixture of online and offline sales. So in the past 10 months we have built a network of 220 franchise experience stores across China (with plans to open another 180 by this time next year). At the same time we are already selling in over 350 stores in Europe, and have a plane to open experience stores in select cities by the end of 2017. China will be a mixture of online and offline sales, while Europe will be primarily offline with a handful of e-commerce platforms like Tchibo offering our NIU electric scooter for sale, but to be honest Europeans are still a few years away from buying scooters online. We are not so sure what direction online sales will take in the Americas at the moment.
Do you plan to launch your upcoming products also via crowdfunding?
We will selectively launch via crowdfunding platforms. For example, our recent launch, the U1 Scooter, we chose not to use crowdfunding. Why? Because, the target market for this particular product in China does not typically shop online,and may not feel comfortable with waiting for a crowdfunded product to be delivered at an unknown date in the future. Every product has a matching channel for launch. We match our products with a corresponding channel to accelerate the market introduction.
Thank for the Interview!