The electric bicycle industry is quite a cut-throat one. Despite so, differentiation is hardly a thing among these ebike makers. Differentiate and the willingness to back the differentiation are why 68-year-old Singaporean businessman Wai-Won Ching had our attention and our respect. Ching is the businessman behind eZee Kinetic Technology that makes eZee Electric Bikes out of a Shanghai factory. Recently he made headlines for traveling across 12 countries in an epic road trip spanning 60 days that covered nearly 6,500 kilometers (around 4,040 miles!).
Chin kicked off the journey from the mountainous Chamonix in France and ended in Kashgar in Xinjiang, China, concluding the cross-continent road trip sometime in August 2018. Completing the endeavor was a major feat on its own, let alone by someone who’s 68 years old. What’s even more brilliant was, Ching pulled off the entire journey on a solar-powered electric bike developed by his company. Now, that’s a clever marketing strategy. Not only did the journey was a show of Ching’s dedication, but it was also a prove of eZee electric bicycles’ reliability. Plus, it also fulfilled the Singaporean businessman’s personal dream of retracing the ancient Silk Road.
Ching’s Silk Road trip is not your typical road trip story, though. He did not suffer like some heart wrenching road trip stories. In fact, he experienced both extremes; sleeping in nice hotels and eating at good restaurants whenever he could, but sometimes, he had to call roadsides his home when he could not find accommodations. He even found time to play tourist in a couple of countries, and even hitching rides on passing truck to get through difficult stretches. In all, Ching said he probably spent around 100,000 yuan (about US$14,500) in retracing the Silk Road.
Ching’s latest achievement wasn’t his first, btw. He had previously conquered several other long trips, including from Shanghai to Kashgar, Perth to Sydney, and from Katima Mulilo in Namibia to Cape Town in South Africa. Presumably, he did it all on ebike built by his company, though we can’t confirm if they were so. A check on the ebike maker’s website, however, revealed that eZee kind of positioned itself as a long haul electric bike and making these incredible journeys isn’t reserved for the businessman; eZee bikes customers are also taking their electric bicycles on epic road trips too.
Anywho, Ching’s 60-day challenge also brought attention to the company’s current woe. As it turns out, local authorities have informed him that his factory located on the outskirts of Shanghai was in fact illegally built and he have no choice but to relocate. eZee’s factory in China has been in operations for nearly 20 years and it employs 30 workers, rolling out 3,000 bikes a year for export, but he has decided not to relocate further inland. Instead, he has acquired a factory in Port Klang, Malaysia, where future eZee electric bicycles will be produced.
Well, you know what, Ching? I think you are a brilliant businessman and a person who recognizes opportunity when you see one. I am not quite sure if that was intentional, but the positioning of eZee as road trip transportation of choice is a strategy we never see any ebike makers do. Not only it differentiate itself in way nobody has done before, this man has proven that his company’s bike can totally take the journey and even going out to prove it himself. Well, at least, that’s what we see in this businessman, regardless of whether or not it is deliberate.
Image: Wai-Won Ching.
Source: the newpaper.