(OFFICIAL)-Electric scooter maker Niu in talks to supply Gojek - CEO

A man rides a Niu electric scooter through a puddle as a sudden thunderstorm darkens the mid-afternoon sky in Beijing
A man rides a Niu electric scooter through a puddle in Beijing, China May 21, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

SHANGHAI/SINGAPORE, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Niu Technologies (NIU.O) is in talks to supply its electric scooters to Southeast Asian ride-hailing company Gojek to increase market share in the region, the electric scooter maker's CEO told Reuters.

Niu makes scooters and motorcycles powered by lithium-ion batteries and 95% of its sales by unit are in China. The company has been sending some scooters to Gojek for testing, CEO Li Yan said.

"We definitely want to grab market share globally," Li, CEO of six-year-old Niu Technologies said in an interview. "But this depends on further drops in the cost of battery cells, which is helped by the scaling up of electric vehicles."

Honda (7267.T) and Yamaha (7272.T) are currently the biggest players in the two-wheeler market in Southeast Asia.

Indonesian company Gojek declined to comment.

Niu sold 600,892 two-wheelers globally last year, up from around 43% on 2019. About 95% of these sales were made in China and mostly came from the country's top 20 to 30 cities, Li said.

Niu buys battery cells from Panasonic (6752.T), Samsung SDI (006400.KS), LG Chem (051910.KS) and Eve Energy (300014.SZ).

The company has 1,600 shops in China selling Niu scooters currently. It also has more than 100 shops overseas and more than 1,000 dealers.

Li said the company plans to expand its sales network in smaller Chinese cities and will open shops at a faster pace than last year, when it opened 600 shops.

Niu currently makes electric two-wheelers in China's eastern city of Changzhou. It is also doubling its manufacturing capacity and will have annual manufacturing capacity of more than 2 million scooters from the second half this year, up from 1 million annual capacity now, the CEO said.

Li said Niu has no plan to make electric cars. "We focus on inner-city mobility."

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh in Shanghai and Fanny Potkin in Singapore. Editing by Jane Merriman

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