- The Washington Times - Monday, June 9, 2008

Jackie Chan, Segway dealer

Actor Jackie Chan says his Hong Kong Segway dealership is doing well, though costs are high because the manufacturer won’t let him assemble the battery-powered scooters in China for fear of piracy.

“They’re afraid of people stealing the technology,” the 54-year-old action star said last week at a security fair in Hong Kong.

China is a leading source of knockoffs ranging from movies and music to sporting goods and medication. Beijing has toughened penalties and cracked down repeatedly, but manufacturers say violations are more prevalent than enforcement.

Mr. Chan said he was confident Segway executives would change their minds as Chinese sales grow.

A basic Segway scooter costs about $10,000 in China - pricey in a country where the average worker makes less than $100 a month. The two-wheelers, which balance on their own and glide noiselessly down streets or sidewalks, cost about $5,000 in the United States.

Mr. Chan, who is from Hong Kong, said he didn’t start the business to make money but to bring the clean technology to China. He also sells the scooters in Macau, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

Mr. Chan’s business partner, Matt McGuire, said they aim to sell 600 to 1,000 Segway scooters in China this year. Security and grounds staff at the Olympics will use about 100, the Beijing airport’s new terminal has ordered four, and police in the eastern province of Shandong have bought 30 scooters to patrol the Olympic sailing venue, he said.

T-Mobile cuts price for more phone lines

T-Mobile USA last week said it would let subscribers to its “unlimited” calling plan include family members for half price, adding another wrinkle in a cross-carrier scramble to define new pricing models.

Verizon Wireless introduced a plan with unlimited nationwide calling in February for $99.99 per month and was quickly matched by its competitors. T-Mobile’s plan, which costs the same, also includes unlimited text, picture and instant messaging. Verizon charges $119.99 for that plan.

T-Mobile is now allowing subscribers to add up to four additional lines to an unlimited plan for $49.99 per month each. Competitors charge full price for additional lines on unlimited plans.

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