Hover­board firms to agree stan­dards

US banned prod­ucts from Chi­nese mar­kets

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By ZHONGNAN zhongnan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s ma­jor man­u­fac­tur­ers of self-bal­anc­ing scoot­ers, also called hov­er­boards, formed a sec­tor branch on Tues­day un­der the China Cham­ber of Com­merce for Im­port and Ex­port of Ma­chin­ery and Elec­tronic Prod­ucts, aim­ing to build group and in­ter­na­tional stan­dards to reen­ter the US mar­ket.

The self-bal­anc­ing ve­hi­cles are a type of portable, recharge­able bat­tery-pow­ered trans­porta­tion ma­chine for in­di­vid­ual rid­ers. They have two side-by-side wheels with two small plat­forms be­tween the wheels on which the rider can stand. The ve­hi­cle is con­trolled us­ing the rider’s feet.

The US In­ter­na­tional Trade Com­mis­sion has launched three in­ves­ti­ga­tions of Chi­nese self-bal­anc­ing ve­hi­cles since 2014. Called sec­tion 337 in­ves­ti­ga­tions, these usu­ally fo­cus on in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights. There have been copy­cat and low-qual­ity prod­ucts, a num­ber of fires and phys­i­cal in­juries and op­po­si­tion by do­mes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Liu Danyang, deputy di­rec­tor of the trade rem­edy and in­ves­ti­ga­tion bureau of the Min­istry of Com­merce, said the es­tab­lish­ment of this sec­tor branch is a prac­ti­cal way to set up a uni­fied qual­ity cri­te­rion to help Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers to pro­duce high-grade self-bal­anc­ing scoot­ers for ex­port.

The ITC reached its fi­nal ver­dict and is­sued ex­clu­sion or­ders on Chi­nese prod­ucts in­March this year, in­di­cat­ing that all Chi­nese self-bal­anc­ing ve­hi­cles can­not en­ter the US mar­ket.

TheUS Con­sumer Prod­uct Safety Com­mit­tee also set up new rules ear­lier this year to raise the tech­ni­cal thresh­old for self-bal­anc­ing ve­hi­cles sold in the coun­try.

“Since over 60 per­cent of Chi­nese com­pa­nies’ mar­ket share is in the US, group and in­ter­na­tional stan­dards can fur­ther tackle var­i­ous il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties that harm the in­ter­est of Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers,” said Zhang Yu­jing, CCCME pres­i­dent.

The sec­tion 337 in­ves­ti­ga­tion and its out­come caused a to­tal of 10 mil­lion units, worth $4 bil­lion, of Chi­ne­se­made­self-bal­anc­ing scoot­ers, to stay on Chi­nese and over­seas shelves in the first half of this year. A to­tal of 300,000 peo­ple in more than 1,000 Chi­nese com­pa­nies may lose their jobs, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures es­ti­mated by the CCCME.

China ex­ported more than 11 mil­lion self-bal­anc­ing scoot­ers in 2015. The value of a self-bal­anc­ing ve­hi­cle can be set be­tween $230 and $3,000, de­pend­ing on their func­tions, ma­te­ri­als, elec­tronic sys­tems and bat­ter­ies.

Li Lu, head of the le­gal af­fairs de­part­ment at Hangzhou Chic In­tel­li­gent Tech­nol­ogy Co, a ma­jor do­mes­tic self-bal­anc­ing ve­hi­cle maker, said the out­come of three sec­tion 337 in­ves­ti­ga­tions will con­tinue to hurt the in­ter­est of Chi­nese com­pa­nies since the ITC is still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case and hasn’t re­leased pun­ish­ment mea­sures yet.

“Be­cause of this sit­u­a­tion, the ma­jor­ity of Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers stopped pro­duc­tion. We are con­fronting the pos­si­bil­ity of los­ing the mas­sive US mar­ket if we don’t take ad­e­quate mea­sures to ap­peal to their com­merce de­part­ment au­thor­i­ties,” said Li.

We are con­fronting the pos­si­bil­ity of los­ing the mas­sive US mar­ket if we don’t take ad­e­quate mea­sures to ap­peal to their com­merce de­part­ment au­thor­i­ties.”

Li Lu, head of the le­gal af­fairs de­part­ment at Hangzhou Chic In­tel­li­gent Tech­nol­ogy Co China’s ex­ports of self-bal­anc­ing scoot­ers in 2015

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