SgScooter sat down one afternoon with Bennie Chu, CEO of Inokim China to find out what he has in store for Inokim in the world’s largest (and toughest) market for electric mobility devices.
The unassuming Bennie can be considered a relative newcomer in the electric mobility industry, having helmed the Inokim brand in China for only the past 1 year. Since then, Inokim has grown from strength to strength, improving its product lines and developing deeper product pipelines. Read on to find out what exciting things are in store for 2017!
SgScooters: Let us ask what everybody wants to know, what can we expect from the team at Inokim for 2017?
Bennie: The priority is to ensure the existing Inokim customers are satisfied so we need to continue to up our customer service standards, improve the customer experience and to improve product reliability standards.
We have 2 mature products: Inokim Quick and Light series. However, every new functionality we add to these product lines causes unexpected interference in an existing functionality so we have to redesign the EMI shielding or implement more wire shielding. So stabilizing our core products right now is our absolute priority.
Further on, we have our new electric scooter models in the pipeline: Inokim Light 2 and Inokim Mini. The Inokim Mini represents a whole new design from the other 2 models. It is not a smaller size Light or Quick, but a whole new redesign of the folding system, electronics and all other parts while maintaining the Inokim spirit. I believe it will rock the budget electric scooter market segment so watch out for its launch in June 2017.
SgScooters: Where do you see Inokim’s longer term plans, say in the next 3 years?
Bennie: Theres no limit to what we can do. We have the most advanced metal casting facilities. Look at the Inokim Light, it was such a challenging feat to manufacture it. The copycats who tried to replicate the Light have all failed. Our manufacturing technology is only going to improve.
That said, the ultimate goal is always going to be Inokim Compact. The Inokim Quick and Light series is just a roadmap towards the eventual Compact. Before that happens, we need to overcome many engineering and manufacturing challenges. It will be the most technically advanced electric scooter when it is completed.
SgScooters: In the face of growing competition from cheaper copycats or clones, how does Inokim differentiate itself?
Bennie: We don’t really worry too much with the copycats and clones. Yes they are cheaper. Yes their scooters are more powerful on paper. Yes they look almost identical.
You can put a beautiful gown on a little girl, but she’s still a little girl, not a mature grown up lady. We are that mature company with advanced engineering and manufacturing technologies that these copycats will never be able to replicate. This is pretty obvious from the Light version. Anyone can buy a powerful hub motor off the shelf and put it in frame but is the frame able to handle the power with minimal vibration and keep itself structurally sound? We are always going to be a step ahead of the competition. The copycats are still copying the Quick 1 version while we are already in our Quick 3 iteration.
Our warranty coverage is also something the other copycats cannot provide and the customer service level we expect from our dealers is very high. We are extremely selective in who we partner with, and every distributor has to go through a strict selection process.
SgScooters: As CEO for the past one year, you have built up quite a impressive team. What are your immediate priorities now?
Bennie: We are aggressively expanding our after sales force and our product development team. We plan to launch a whole range of accessories and peripherals under the Inokim brand. The Israeli design team helmed by Nimrod will still focus on primary product development while the China team will focus on developing peripherals.
We are also slowly improving our exhibition prowess. We have engaged a firm to develop our exhibition theme and to create a more experiential environment for customers to engage and use our products. In Singapore, we will be supporting our exclusive distributor Falcon PEV for their roadshows and events at Car Free Sunday or iWheel4Fun.
SgScooters: Thank you Bennie for your time. We welcome you back to Singapore and we look forward to an exciting product line up in 2017!