If you've heard of Chinese company Xiaomi, it's probably because you own one of their phones. The electronic giant's only real forray into Western markets so far has been through consumer electronics such as their Mi range of phones, and their cheap range of wearable health monitors.
At a launch event in Beijing on June 23, though, the tech giant announced and launched their 2999¥ (£306) carbon firbre foldable e-bike, the Mi QiCYCLE.
This is the tech giant's first forray into the e-bike market, and the package is quite a compelling one.
The bike uses a combination of Shimano's Nexus 3-speed hub and a 250W 36V electric motor with an IDbike B.V-developed tourque management system to help you get around.
Twenty 2900mAh Panasonic lithium-ion batteries power the motor, giving the bike a range of 45km on one charge.
There's an in-house developed computer system with a handlebar-mounted display which uses sensors from across the bike to update you on your wattage output, your calories burned, distance travelled, speed, and more. This information is also shared with Xiaomi's own health app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play and Apple App stores.
The whole ensemble weighs in at a palateble 14.3kg, and folds up to a size small enough to fit in the boot of even the smallest of inner-city vehicles.
The Chinese tech giant started making moves in the cycling industry last year by investing in foldable e-bike startup Yunbike. The company followed that by launching the Shimano Ultegra Di2-running smart road bike, the QiCycle R1 which retailed for an incredible £2500.
That bike didn't have the electronic motor assistance that the Mi QiCYCLE does, but it used the Shimano Di2 battery pack to power a number of sensors that work directly with the Xiaomi health app.
Xiaomi's moves into the cylcing market are further confirmation that the 6-year old company is no longer just a smartphone company. Xiaomi are persuing connectectivity in devices across a huge range of markets. Devices like air purifiers, rice cookers, kettles, and wearables have had the Xiaomi treatment over the last year, and the Mi QiCYCLE now joins that list.
The e-bike market in China, while significantly larger than any Western e-bike market, is still emerging. Sure, China is the worlds biggest manufacturer and exporter of electric bicycles - according to an article published in business magazine Bloomberg there are currently 200 million e-bikes currently in use in China - but in terms of the proportion of the population riding the vehicles, they're not very far ahead of the West.
The same Bloomberg article, which we linkd to above, quotes data from business advisory company Navigant that suggests that projected sales of e-bikes in 2016 put the Asian and Pacific regions at 32.8m units, and Western Europe at 1.6m.
Overlooking the massive disparaties in population size between the two regions, neither piece of data suggests that there is currently a significant portion of either population riding or buying e-bikes.
A company the size of Xiaomi - $20 billion in revenue in 2015 - launching an e-bike which, for all intents and purposes, looks very compelling for the price tag, can only be a good thing for e-bike sales in the East.
We have been in touch with Xiaomi to ask them whether there are plans for a European Mi QiCYCLE launch, as no plans have as yet been mentioned.
Either way, we hope that an e-bike sales surge in the East would have an impact on sales in the West - we live in a small world these days.