9 Jan 2006
Fast Action(HKTDC Toys & Games , Vol 01,2006)
|Xtreme-Cruise Ltd recently introduced the world's first wireless remote-control skateboard|
"There have been electronic skateboards around for a few years, but they had a wire attached that made it quite easy for the rider to get tangled," says global marketing manager Jerry Tsang.
"We launched our wireless cruiseboard at an unusual venue for such a product - a comics festival in Hong Kong. As we were the only non-comic product we made quite an impact," he adds.
The launch also provided a good initial test of the cruiseboard's attractiveness to Hong Kong youngsters, even though the main marketing push has been to overseas markets and a wide range of ages.
"In fact, our product is not just aimed at young people," says Tsang. "We are targeting everyone, starting from 8-12 years of age up to adults aged around 35. Also, it's not just males that interest us, and we see 50% of end-users being women. We have kept this in mind when choosing board colours, as women prefer red while men tend to go for blue."
There are three versions of the skateboard: 28-, 36- and 40-inch. The smallest model features a keychain wireless hand-held remote control.
"Users simply press the button and off they go at speeds of up to 14km/h," says Tsang. "The 36-inch board has a hand-held pistol-style control with an electrical braking system and a variable, analogue speed control of 10, 14 and 19km/h." This model also has the pistol-style control, offering speeds of 14, 19 and 24km/h.
"While the 24-inch model incorporates a 100W motor, the 36-inch version has a 250W high-torque motor and the 40-inch board has a very powerful 450W motor," Tsang says.
The three boards are suitable for riders with body weights of up to 130lbs, 200lbs and 250lbs respectively. The smaller board comes in red or blue, while the larger models are available in blue or black.
"The concept of variable speed comes from remote-controlled cars," Tsang says. "While the original idea came from a Californian-based designer, we came up with the Xtreme-Cruise brand name to match the new extreme sports market niche."
Tsang says there are plans to launch other Xtreme-Cruise vehicles, such as scooters. "Our mother company is Coulomb Electronics Ltd, a Hong Kong-based manufacturer of consumer electronics products with production facilities on the Chinese mainland where our boards are made," he says. "As regards quality, we have the know-how and we are constantly coming up with modifications to enhance performance."
The company participated at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Autumn Edition), and Tsang says the cruiseboard was well received. "We met many potential buyers and sent out 300 follow-up emails."
Xtreme is targeting a number of markets. "We see lots of potential in Australia, South Africa and the US, plus we have customers in Japan and Korea," Tsang says.
"We are also working our way into big department stores and are currently cooperating with about 20 different clients. However, because the boards are motorised we do need to be in markets where users have plenty of opportunity to use them legally. This is a problem in many European cities, where there aren't a lot of private roads. But we do currently have one UK client and we're working with people in Spain and France," he adds.
"We sell the boards under our Xtreme-Cruise brand name, but some customers request their own designs, especially skate companies who want their own look. We work with them to achieve this, but still retain the Xtreme identity, too," Tsang says.
"We will come up with new board patterns and colours on a seasonal basis to keep the look fresh. Interestingly, our graphics designer is also local a rap artist in Hong Kong named Ghostyle. He's very well-known, and we will be doing various promotional tie-ups with him."
Looking ahead, Tsang says: "We will continue to build our brand name by introducing new products, but we don't want to move too quickly. Image is everything, and we have to be careful in choosing both the products and the partners to work with."
Where there is a need for fast action, Xtreme-Cruise certainly seems to have the right response time.
Written by Ann Williams
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