Tuesday, August 22, 2006

intermediate product 2

I've mentioned before how intermediate products plug gaps between basic products and more advanced, expensive options by offering an affordable compromise. Here is another example from China: the electric bicycle.



The electric bike sits half way between a push-bike and a motorcycle, it's battery powered but you can also still peddle. Some even are styled to look more like motorcycles, with cosmetic casings that mimic motorbikes with 'go faster' colours.

This is also a cycle for two - kitted out with a cushion at the back so a passenger can ride side-saddle in comfort (or at least more comfortable than sitting on the plain metal supports which is the case for most). When did someone last give you a lift to the office on the back of their bicycle? Or offer to drop you off at a meeting as they are cycling in that direction? It's still a standard form of commuting for many in China. This also illustrates how personal use items in the west are often shared in China; bicycles are used to give lifts, mobile phones can be jointly owned between friends, family members or colleagues and scooters are regularly overloaded to act as the equivalent of a family car or company van.

3 comments:

nien said...

you can share phones? how does that work?

i see what you mean said...

timeshare systems, a workplace buys a mobile that whoever is going out will borrow, a family will have one that belongs to the main worker during the week but maybe the kid during the weekend, a village will all contribute to a mobile and it'll be used as a village phone left with one appointed guardian, all sorts of variations...

Brenda Sue said...

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