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Xiaomi launches a smart folding bicycle for China's busy city roads

Chinese company Xiaomi is launching an electric-powered folding bicycle for the country's congested city roads. Mi QiCycle Electric Folding Bike hasn't been developed by Xiaomi itself, but by iRiding, a Taiwanese company backed by Xiaomi. 

Priced at $455 (2,999 yuan), it is only available in China, with no word about its launch in other countries. Electric bikes are big business in China, with annual sales exceeding that of cars.

"As more people move to the edge of towns and cities, traffic congestion may get worse. Many people will drive their cars into the city centre to get to work," Xiaomi says in its statement. "How you wish you have a bicycle with you right now?" 

The bike is made of carbon fibre and weighs only 14.5 kg. All the parts, except the main beam and the tires, can be folded to fit into a small car's trunk. It is powered by a 250W 36V high-speed electric motor and has torque-sensing capabilities that adjusts the power on the basis of the user's pedaling and torque applied. The motor runs on 20 Panasonic lithium ion batteries with capacity of 29,000 mAh each, which last for 45 km on a single charge. The Shimano Nexus 3 speed gear hub can also adjust the resistance.

Like Xiaomi's other IoT devices, the bike can be connected to a companion smartphone app, which offers GPS navigation and measures real-time fitness parameters such as the speed, mileage, distance covered and the calories burnt.

The electric folding bike is the latest in a series of IoT devices launched by the Chinese company in recent months, in an attempt to diversify and shed its image as the maker of cheap smartphones. QiCycle is among a string of startups that Xiaomi has been backing to build innovative accessories that are then sold in Xiaomi's online store. 

In recent months, Xiaomi has unveiled wide range of smart gadgets, including a rice cooker, air and water purifiers and the Mi Band fitness bracelet. All the devices in the Mi Ecosystem are connected to the Internet and come with their own app, allowing users to control it. 

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